Wednesday, March 03, 2010
The plane left on time, arrived on time, coach class pretty much sucks other than that the chick sitting next to me moved so I ended up with just OK amounts of space. I think I slept a few hours on the plane. We arrived at Heathrow on time, immigration and customs were a breeze, and the weather was cold and cloudy and rainy and sunny. It changes a lot and often.
Tom got his rental car and we got a Nüvi with it. Otherwise, I think we'd still be looking for the hotel. London is not as crazy as Paris, but everything is on the wrong side, so that is surreal.
We went to the hotel, Marriott London Kensington,
checked our luggage in, and headed out on foot.
We walked to the Gloucester station and got a one-day 1&2 zone unlimited travel pass for the tube/undergound/subway (£5.60 £1 = $1.53). We took the District line to the Tower Hill station, and then got lunch in a pub built under a bridge called The Minories. Fish and chips and cider. There's A LOT of cider here, and several different brands of pear cider. I should not have had two pints of cider with lunch.
We walked around the pub area, got some pounds from the ATM, saw a commercial being filmed, and went to the London Tower / Tower Bridge area. I think I got some good photos. We found a brasserie (with a bathroom! Here's me right before finding a place with a bathroom)
called Cafe Rouge, and got some coffee. From there, back to the now crowded Underground, and off at the Victoria Station. We found a Vodafone mobile phone store in the station, and both bought a £30 phone that came with £10 airtime, plus bought an additional £20 top-up, for a total of £50. Incoming calls from everywhere are free, outgoing calls to the US are only 5p a minute (AT&T charges 12x that BOTH WAYS), and calls within the UK are 20p a minute. What a deal. After taking the tube back to the Gloucester station we found a post office and got some stamps and touristy stuff, then walked back to the hotel to properly check in. Fortunately, we took the Nüvi with us.
We went to dinner at a real Italian restaurant called (restaurant name) that was loaded with real Italians, and a couple of French people. It was just like being back in Italy. on the way home we stopped at the Sainsbury's supermarket and got some stuff like water, and weird and wonderful British candy.
I'm back in the hotel in Kensington, and need to get to bed. We'll probably go back to the London Tower tomorrow and do the tour proper, then drive up to Ware, where the rest of our group will eventually be.
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