London Day 1

MinsterOriginal Post: May 20, 2015

London. It’s a nice place to visit with rich history and a people who are very proud of their history. I did quite a bit of sight-seeing and museums while in London and I must say, I became bored with it primarily due to the restrictive nature of the visits. I’m not some fabulous photographer but I do enjoy taking photographs. They don’t allow photography in most places I visited. I even had a volunteer run me out of the church because I was looking at my phone to see how long it would take the taxi to arrive. Literally I was looking down at the phone, not playing with the buttons, anything…and it was cold outside! Anyway, here’s what I did in London…

As previously mentioned, I arrive via train from Paris Saturday night. The train ride was comfortable and a surprisingly quick 2 hours and 20 minutes. Upon arrival, I immediately noticed the beauty of the station and the cleanliness of the place. The halls are lined with shops and cafes. Even though it was late and most things were closed, I could imagine the hustle and bustle of the place during the day. I’m sure it would be great to sit and have a drink and people watch.

I hailed a taxi to my next airbandb flat. When you get into a taxi in a place you’ve never been and the driver is rude, it’s not a good feeling. I climbed into the taxi and said good evening to the guy. Nothing…I waited a few seconds, perhaps he didn’t hear me because of the plexiglass…still no response. Finally I said hello a third time and he responded that the taxi in front of him should have been filled first. Look, I know how the taxi line works. There were 2 ladies going for that taxi so I went to the next available one. Regardless, that shouldn’t have stopped him from not acknowledging that someone was speaking to him. *sigh* Then I love how the taxi driver will expect you to tell him how to get to your destination. Look dude! I’m in a taxi because you’re supposed to know where to go! Lol!

Anyway, I made it to my flat and was warmly greeted by my host. This was the first time I’ve ever rented a room so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. One reason I chose this place is because of the outside seating area. I was thrilled to be surrounded by lavender and rosemary, two of my favorites. She showed me around and explained the system to me. She’s an experienced host so it was nice. Keys are left in the windowsill so we know when the other is here. I can dig it! This place even came with breakfast prepared by the host but I politely declined. It just didn’t seem right for me to have someone cooking my breakfast. I only asked to be shown where the tea and coffee was so I could have some in the mornings in the outdoor space. Which I did and it was lovely.

Sunday I made my first attempt at tackling the underground or the tube as the locals call it. As you may recall, I wasn’t very fond of the Metro in Paris but by the time I left Paris, it was great. The tube is a different beast! While it’s much nicer and cleaner and the actual trains are pristine (compared to Paris), it’s not as convenient as the Metro in Paris. I found that the stations are very spaced out and they aren’t all well marked. My flat is a little further away from the station than I was anticipating. I could catch the bus to the tube station but I have a weird fear, un confessed until now, of riding buses in large cities alone. Needless to say, I racked up many steps on my Fitbit in London this week.

I walked along the streets of London, crossing the Vauxhall Bridge and made my way down toward Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. London has stunning buildings with an insane amount of character and beauty. Pictures really don’t do it justice. After taking some photos I hopped on the tube and made my way to the British Museum. The nice thing is that the museum was free. I went through the exhibits. The most fascinating thing about the entire place is the age of many of the items. It was truly amazing to see so many old things preserved so well.

I stopped in at a small restaurant, Munchkins, and had fish and chips and a hard cider. I don’t really like beer. I got a long piece of fish that was nearly 12 inches and a small basket of fries. The fish had great batter but no flavor. They give you mayonnaise here instead of tarter sauce. The fish could have used some tarter sauce. The fries were nice and crispy, with no flavor. The cider, however, was great! The brand was called woodpecker. I’ll have to look for that next time I’m looking for a good cider.

Then I needed a nap. So I took one J. I napped nearly everyday in London. I’ve been exhausted!

Sunday night I had a chance to experience Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, apparently a jazz staple in the city of London. I was excited to hear great jazz and booked my ticket well in advance. Upon arrival, the hostess showed me to my table and this is when I found out that I’d be sharing a table with an unknown man; a very tiny table. She told me I should have known I’d have to share a table since I only booked one seat. Annoyance quickly set in because nowhere does it say that when you’re booking a ticket. I sucked it up and sat down and ended up having a lovely evening with my table companion. However, I couldn’t help but notice that the table exactly opposite of me, meant for 2 people, had a lovely gentleman sitting there all alone all night!

The jazz was great! Everything else, not so much. It took 15 minutes to get the waitresses’ attention. It took another 25 minutes for her to come back and take my order. Forty minutes in, I still didn’t have the glass of wine I ordered so my table companion kindly offered to share his bottle with me. I ordered steak with seasonal vegetables instead of fries.  An hour and a half after arriving, my food finally came. The steak was a hockey puck served with sauce. I’m sorry, anytime you have to serve steak sauce with a steak in a restaurant; you’re doing something wrong. I didn’t complain though, I ate it…and enjoyed the music.

This was day 1 of London. I guess I have more to say about London than I thought! I’ll post a continuation of my London travels soon. I’m heading out the door to window shop!

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