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When I last chronicled my travels, I was experiencing the magical university town of Cambridge, where I enjoyed a personal guided tour with my Aunt Sara who has lived there for many years. I also caught up with the rest of my family who lives there including two little cousins who I met for the first time.

Then I headed back to London to stay with my new found friend, the dashingly handsome (are you reading this, Mark?!) Mark Lester, one of Britain's most talented natural therapists and a wonderful host and tour guide. Together, we climbed the 300 plus step high London monument (a shrine to the victims of London's great fire in the 1600's) which gives views of the city that rivals those from the Millennium wheel. Then we set our watches to Greenwich mean time and traversed the meridian line at Greenwich Observatory in picturesque Greenwich. We trundled through the trendy London streets where the Beatles used to shop and ended up in the hippy haven of Neil's Yard, the flower power filled courtyard where the only problem is which of the six vegetarian cafes to lunch at. I bought herbs and supplies at one of the world's best Chinese medicine stores and browsed in the new age book and aromatherapy stores, but I could find no sign of the elusive Neil!

One day we went for a wander through the gorgeous Hampstead Heath, amongst the friendly squirrels (they are as common as possums in Australia). Then halfway down a hill, Mark told me to turn around. And there behind me, was the house from the movie - Notting Hill. No, not the house with the blue door - the country estate where Julia Robers's character was filming the Henry James period film!

The hustle and bustle of Camden Town Market and the suburb-sized department store Selfridges were other places where I found it hard to hang onto my money. It didn't leave me much time to catch up with the latest episodes of The Bill and EastEnders!

Armed with a copy of a vegetarian guide to London, we tried to sample as many vegetarian and wholefood restaurants as possible but kept going back to the amazing Vital Organic in North London, a small eatery ornately decorated with bamboo and sheer scarves whose chef was as dedicated to health and vitality as to creating unique tastes. Sprouting all grains and beans that were used in the organic stews, risottos and salads, he still found time to create desserts such as quinoa and barley malt torte and Stevia leaf coconut agar slice.

Not only is Mark one of the UK's most brilliant and innovative natural therapists, he is also extremely well connected in the holistic arena, Word had gotten around Mark's circle of friends about our adventures in Damanhur. So we decided to have a video and information night. For those of you interested in hearing more on Damanhur, let me know and I will keep you posted of a similar event in Melbourne! I met some interesting characters that night. There was the spiritually and inspiring Diki, who told us of his years at magical Findhorn in Scotland and his connection with the a'Hu's and Tony who does some amazing work with sound and energy and other top secret stuff. Then there was a teacher who specialised in philosophy for four year olds, Alexander Barrie, the originator of a brilliant body work technique and a host of intriguing individuals.

I also made contact with a brilliant subtle energy inventor who has materialised a wonderful and empowering device using flower essences (e.g. Bach, Australian Bush Flower, Findhorn, Alaskan etc.) that will revolutionise the way that flower remedies are used. I have had some spectacular experiences with the Personal Flower Therapist myself and look forward to introducing it to whoever feels drawn to its possibilities.

Other highlights were visiting the legendary Hale clinic, one of the world's most comprehensive natural therapies centres in upmarket Park Crescent, and home to one of the most comprehensive dispensaries and natural therapies bookstores around. I also visited The Posture Clinic in Harley Street where sports stars are biomechanically analysed and advised on techniques to improve their performance.

On my way back, on that blustery evening at dusk, I was headed for the underground station when I noticed a disheveled man camped on the pavement. A cardboard sign stating "homeless and hungry" prompted me to reach into my pocket and deposit what coins I had in his upturned hat. I nodded in response to his mumbled thanks. Then, on impulse, I pulled out the organic sprouted carrot and currant loaf I had purchased earlier and offered it to him. He peered at the label and said "You know, I don't really like raisin bread." Well, that put me in my place! I felt a little better though, when he called after me "But I am sure that someone at the shelter will. Thanks, luv!"

Although this was a study and discovery adventure I managed to do some interesting consultations including cases of diabetes, cancer and multiple chemical sensitivity. All the new skills that I acquired in my courses along the way became immediately useful. I was even able to tailor a health program for several Singapore Airlines flight attendents while on board! I just heard that one of them visited my colleague, Jodi at GNC Swanston Street to stock up on the antioxidants and herbs that I recommended at 30,000 feet!

While on the road, I met up with many internet friends, some of whom I have corresponded with for several years.

I was so excited to finally complete the Alexander Barrie Pelivs Correction course, Having studied this insightful osteopathic shiatsu practitioner's work from Australia, it was brilliant to finally see the technique come to life. It is a brilliant innovation in the arena of back and joint rehabilitation - from minor twinges to chronic misalignment. I was drawn to it because of its emphasis on self care diagnostics and correction techniques that are quick and straightforward to master yet can make all the difference. With all this excitement and adventure, I felt sad to leave this city of possibilities and colour, but Mark's patients needed him back and he needed his living room sofa back - besides Amsterdam beckoned...

To revisit any part of my journey:

Part 1: Schiphol
Part 2: Damanhur
Part 4: Holland

View the pictures along the way:

Photo Gallery of the Journey

Copyright © 2002 Ilanit Tof, All Rights Reserved.