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DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: London Part V

Thursday, February 03, 2005

London: Part V

Cracking the Code

In The Da Vinci Code
A portion of the second cryptex's message, "In London lies a knight a Pope interred," finds new meaning for Langdon with the aid of a helpful King's College librarian's computer.

On Tour
King's College. According to Brown, "King's College houses its Department of Theology and Religious Studies adjacent to Parliament on property granted by the Crown." The college's religion department is also the home of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology, one of the world's most advanced religious research libraries. Brown describes the research room vividly: "a dramatic octagonal chamber dominated by an enormous round table around which King Arthur and his knights might have been comfortable were it not for the presence of twelve flat-screen computer workstations." King's College has several campuses on both sides of the Thames, just above Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is in the School of Humanities.
ADDRESS: The Strand.
NEIGHBORHOOD: St. James's.
TUBE: Temple.


A Final Clue

In The Da Vinci Code
As Langdon and Neveu scour the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton for a final clue that will crack open the second cryptex, they receive a message from a rival character to meet him in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey. In the ensuing struggle, they vanquish their nemesis.

On Tour
Westminster Abbey. Nearly all of England's monarchs have been crowned at Westminster Abbey, and many of them are buried here, but the abbey's origins remain uncertain. The first church on the site may have been built as early as the 7th century by the Saxon king Sebert. A Benedictine abbey was established here in the 10th century. At many points the view of the abbey is crowded by the many statues and screens.
The Chapter House, a stunning octagonal room supported by a central column and adorned with 14th-century frescoes, is where the King's Council and, after that, an early version of the Commons met between 1257 and 1547. Underfoot is one of the finest surviving tiled floors in the country. The Abbey Museum is in the undercroft, which survives from Edward the Confessor's original church, and includes a collection of deliciously macabre effigies made from the death masks and actual clothing of Charles II and Admiral Lord Nelson. Sir Isaac Newton's grave and tomb are near the choir screen, at the north entrance to the choir.
ADDRESS: South side of Parliament Square.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Westminster.
TUBE: Westminster.


Cracking the Code

Getting There: Neveu, Langdon, and Sir Teabing zip from an airport near Château Villette in Teabing's private plane and land at Biggin Hill Airport, 12 miles from central London. You're more likely to arrive at Heathrow, Gatwick, or Stansted airport. If you're coming from Paris, you can ride on the train through the Channel Tunnel.
Where to Stay: A night or two at a Bloomsbury, St. James's, or Westminster hotel should help set the mood.
Getting Around: All the London sights In The Da Vinci Code are in a compact area east and south of Trafalgar Square and are accessible by bus or the Tube.
Suggested Route: With one exception, Kings College London, you can easily walk this 2-mile route in the order the sights appear In The Da Vinci Code. Take the Tube to St. Paul's Station and head west on Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, continuing until you get to Temple, where you'll see the Temple Bar Memorial (1880), a young bronze griffin. Opposite the statue is an elaborate stone arch through which you pass into Middle Temple Lane, which runs south all the way to the Thames. Temple Church will be on your left as you head toward the river. After you've explored the church, reverse course to the statue and continue west.
Along the Strand you'll pass by Kings College London. After exploring the campus, continue west on the Strand to Trafalgar Square. Just south of the square on Whitehall is the Horse Guards Parade, which edges St. James's Park. Continue south to Westminster Abbey. Opus Dei's London office, which is not open to the public, is more than 3 miles west of Westminster Abbey, just north (on Orme Court, off Bayswater Road) of the northwest corner of Kensington Gardens. If you're not up for this much walking, an alternative is to take Bus 11, which travels along Ludgate and Fleet Street to Trafalgar Square and Westminster.

Tomorrow: Scotland.
posted by Ivan, 11:42 am

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