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Hey, London, I’m coming / London

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My 5-day visit to London spent mostly in pubs for absorbing English atmosphere and investigating their drinking culture.

As soon as our group of tourists arrived to the UK’s capital city, straight from the airport we headed to a pub. We were starving and wanted to drop in somewhere to grab a bite. What’s a point to be in the heart of England and not to get a taste of English beer?

When we entered the pub we chose I was amazed of a rather acrid smell of beer, sweat and urine. It was like the premises weren’t aired for a long time collecting every whiff that happened here during long cold nights. Located in the downtown, known and popular amongst locals and tourists, mind you, the pub wasn’t some hole in the wall. In fact, it‘s quite normal for such an institution to stink a bit. No way it scared us away. Laughing we ordered ale. Half pint. Quite a normal dose to get to know the drink better. We repeated our order many times and got with this beverage on friendly terms!

Do you know what ale is? It’s a specific type of a rather strong beer. For me. But I am not a beer drinker! Actually, ale is a potent brew of malted barley, similar to beer but without the hops. Historically, as industrial pollution increased in England, and water no longer was safe to drink, ale became the drink of necessity. In old times, inns where you could have ale, beer or wine, were run by monks to feed travelers. The advent of coach travel necessitated the establishment of the coaching inn, which fed, watered and accommodated passengers, coachmen and horses. Due to the Victorians, the word "pub" is short for Public House. Today the pub is a place to meet friends, enjoy a good meal, relax or do business. It is also can be a place for families, as recent changes in the law allow kids into pubs accompanied by adults. And if you fall in love with some pub you can even spend a night in there. Surely, not by the counter, but in bed, as some drinking establishments provide accommodation.

When we stepped out of the pub we were sitting in, we saw lots of a little tipsy young people around. Hey, colleagues! It turned out that many office workers and students start their drinking on Thursday and finish it on a Sunday night. That is what I call a modern tradition! Tired from working week they begin to relax. A little on Thursday, a lot from Friday to Saturday (hours on end / as be damned / their head off / endlessly) and, again, a bit on Sunday to be ready to work and wait for a next Thursday. On our way to the hotel, we saw many handsome ones lying on benches, their ties flung over the shoulder – they were sweetly sleeping...

Продолжение читайте в журнале English4U №11 (ноябрь 2011) на который можно подписаться или купить здесь.

24 ноября 2011
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