Sunday, June 29, 2008

First Day in London

Brit Boy and I are still having broadband problems, but we have pieced together things enough for us to get back into the internet world until we can get things worked out permanently on that front. I am so glad, because I don’t want too much time to pass and then I will forget bits of the absolutely great time we had in London this time around. This was the longest stretch that we have spent in London and it was fab. We went from the storied courts of Wimbledon to the truly sublime experience of seeing Mr. Nelson Mandela speak and pass the torch to the rest of us in taking care of our world. It is a week that Brit Boy and I will never forget. (smile)

I will begin today with our first day there and continue onward in the next few entries. So Brit Boy and I set off on our trip, on Monday, June 23rd. This time we didn’t take the train due to some scheduling and money-saving considerations, although in the end, we didn’t really save any money, but anyway we took the coach/bus into London. Let me say, Brit Boy and I remembered why we love the train so much after two hours on the coach. (laugh) It was hot and grubby. We have had better coach rides, so it isn’t always like that, but this time it was icky. Still, we are going to stick to the train when we can because it is a more comfortable way to travel and it takes half the time. In the end though, we were too excited to really care. We were just glad to be going on this cool journey together.

We arrived at the Victoria coach station in London at about 1pm. We were hungry, so we wheeled our bags down the street and across the way to a little shopping complex there at the Victoria Station, which houses a grocery store and various shops, as well as restaurants. We set out on our trip with the idea in mind that we would eat cheaply as much as we could to save money in these times that we live in. (smile) Well everyone else had the same idea and all of the fast food places were packed, so we had to go over to the Italian place across the plaza. Luckily, it was sort of Italian-esque fast food, so it was reasonably priced. The food was really good. Brit Boy and I both had a slice of pizza and a platter of finger food that we shared. The platter had chicken strips, nachos, and various vegetables and was served with two sauces. It was nice and filling. Here are a couple of photos of our platter and my glass of drink.

In yet another cost-cutting measure, we decided to stay outside of central London this time since we were staying several nights. We stayed in the Wembley area of London. Our hotel was virtually a stone’s throw from Wembley Stadium. Here is a photo.

They are doing lots of revitalization and construction around that area. My guess is that on top of rejuvenating things, they are sprucing up things in time for the Olympics in 2012. They are building lots of housing and workspace around there. Here is a photo of some of the change going on out there.

By the time that we got to our hotel in Wembley it was well after 3pm which was check-in time. So when we got there we thought that we could go in and dump our stuff and lounge a bit in preparation for our early start the next day. But when we turned up, things were in all-out chaos in the lobby. (laugh) There were about 100 teenagers milling around who were either on their way in or out, we couldn’t figure out which. And then there were about eight others there waiting for their rooms. So we were “checked in”, but then we had to go along with the others and wait in the bar for our rooms to be ready. It was cool though. In the end, they gave us free drinks, so all was not lost. (smile)

After almost two hours, we all were finally shown to our rooms. They couldn’t give us our keys at that point because things were still chaotic, but we were able to get it later. As another consolation, they offered us all free breakfast the next day, but Brit Boy and I didn’t hang around the next day for that…we were off to Wimbledon and we didn’t want to miss a minute. (smile)

That evening, as we were settled into our room, I took this photo of the sunset out of our window. It was lovely.

From our window you could see for miles. This photo makes me calm because it makes me remember the sense that I had at that moment that we were on the eve of a wondrous journey over the next few days and I was right. This sunset was a perfect close to the day before some of the best days of my life.
My next entry….our day at Wimbledon.

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