Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mind the Gap

We made it to London.

It reminds me of New York. Only people are more polite. And they have British accents. Obvy.

Today we wandered from Leicester Square to Covent Garden and a litte bit through Soho and the West End theatre district. It was crowded and exhausting. For some reason I had not anticipated how freaking crowded it would be.

There are a lot of people in the world. And a good number of them happen to be in London.

Our flight was uneventful... but as we flew out of Atlanta at 10:30 Eastern time and arrived in London at noon the next day, we got little sleep on the plane and lost half a day on our way here. Needless to say we were a bit groggy and grimey when we landed at the airport, just in time to locate an ATM, figure out where we needed to go on the tube, and then walk to our hotel. I was so glad we had packed light but saved room for granola bars. The tube system is quite straightforward. Much easier than the weekend Jamie and Natalie and I went to New York and the subway system was all under renovation or whatever so the A line became the B line and the C line was the A and B combined...

The politest part of the tube is the lady's voice who asks you to "mind the gap" as you step on and off the train so that you don't stumble between the train and the platform. I love it.

Our hotel is pretty darling. It is small -- a "boutique" hotel I guess -- and the room is clean and nice-sized and has a little fridge and a hairdryer. It is also close to the Goodge Street tube stop, although we walked a few blocks out of the way when we headed for the hotel because we had no freaking idea where we were going. We had a map but we were so disoriented that we simply didn't know which way was east and which was west. And it was early afternoon so the sun wasn't much help in determining direction.

Once we showered and brushed our teeth and changed clothes, we headed back out for our self-guided West End walking tour. I didn't want to look like a stupid tourist with my Rick Steves London book o' maps flopping around everywhere so we tried to be all discreet about map reading until we finally got too tired and too hungry and just wanted to know where the hell we were and why London thinks it's cool to put street names on the side of buildings instead of on street signs like everywhere else in the free world (and by that, I mean the United States).

Really though we were surprised by the crowds more than anything, which made navigating through a new city that much more complicated. But it made sense that lots of people were out and about since it was such a beautiful day. Highs are in the low '70s here and it was the perfect weather for wandering around. We heard a lot of different languages as we strolled around and window shopped but I didn't hear any other American accents. Interestingly, our TV in the hotel has oodles of American shows. Right now we're watching Friends.

After popping in a few shops (Hey, Pepe Jeans, haven't seen you since the early '90s! Hi, H&M, why do you look so much cooler in London than you do in Galleria Mall in St. Louis?), we had dinner at a little pub/restaurant that one of David's co-workers recommended to him. We people watched while we waited for our table. Lots of girls wearing leggings around here. Also I am totally smitten by British children and the way they talk. Irresistible. Our waitress was also really adorable and the way she said "to-matt-o bass-ill soup" was so cute. D and I split a fish sampler platter and had Grolsch beers and then slogged our way through the crowd back to the tube. Where we discovered the Picadilly line was delayed indefintely. So we then left that station and hiked to the next nearest station to get back to our hotel.

It's only 9pm here but we're both exhausted. Tomorrow we head for Bath with a bus tour.


1 comment:

  1. So glad to read you made it safe and sound. Enjoy the adventure!