3 Sept 2010 London, UK 14:51
As is always the case when we first tumble into Europe on less than 2 hours sleep, we feel insane. The feeling is compounded this time by the frenetic energy that is London and the fact that there are THREE of us this time instead of simply Scott and I trying to keep each other together. Lily wants to go to bed. It is 3 in the afternoon here but her body is telling her that it is 8 a.m. and she has had little to no sleep in the last 24 hours. Clem picked us up at Heathrow and drove us through the streets of London to our hotel. It was a wild 40 minute ride with Lily and I in the back seat, wide eyed and breaking out in nervous laughter from time to time. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out the traffic rules here. Sometimes all the cars would go through the intersection when the light was clearly red and other times they’d stop. The lanes are impossibly narrow and cars merge randomly, almost like they are magnets repelling each other. They come within inches until someone pulls ahead or falls behind and life goes on. When we finally got to the hotel and squeezed ourselves out of the (very tiny) car, Scott and Clem stayed outside to talk and Lily and I went to check in. When Scott and Clem finally joined us, I asked Clem what the deal was with red lights-do you stop at them or what? He looked at me and smiled his sweet smile and said, “Oh that…well you can tell what everyone else is doing…” and he stopped his explanation when I began laughing hysterically.
Lily and I went up to the room to drop our bags and clean up. Clem of the sweet smile is lending us one of his cars for 4 days while we are in London. I told Scott I thought we should decline the offer. I honestly can not see us going anywhere in this traffic, but Scott pshawd me and took Clem to the nearest train station so he could catch a train home. I thought I would never see Scott again and I kept the cell phone beside me in case he called. He took the GPS with him and not 10 minutes later knocked at the hotel room door. The train station was up by Buckingham Palace, maybe 10 blocks away and he made it there and back with the car and his body intact. A miracle.
London is very eco conscious. There is an egg timer in the shower…one of those small hourglass types (although it attaches to the shower wall!) that you turn when you take a shower so you limit yourself to 5 minute showers. Lights turn on and off as you walk through the hallway and lights are halogen or CFL types.
organikrocka.com) made soft bamboo tees and Scott and Lily both bought one. The guys running the booth were enthusiastic and fun and we visited for quite awhile.
A young boy, maybe 6 or 7 was holding court in the center of the room dancing to the loud techno/disco music and he was really good. Jill came back to the table with 5 ciders. Now the beer here is pretty low alcohol (maybe 3%?), but cider (which is exactly what you would think-fermented apple cider) is 6-8%. It is VERY tasty, much more so than the beer to me and when you order the proverbial pint, that is what you get-a PINT-meaning half a quart. That’s a lot of cider and it goes down remarkably easy. After 2 pints we were all getting loud and laughing and telling stories. The young boy had left the bar and I was beginning to think WE had become the entertainment for the patrons. When we finally decided to head back to the station, we were a wobbly bunch indeed. We stopped at a street side fruit stand and when Gabe remarked she’d never had a fig, Scott went inside and bought us each one. We continued our walk munching on the huge figs almost as big as our fists.
Caught up with Jill and Gabe at the World Cup Final Rugby Match in Twickingham. There were about 14,000 people in attendance and it was wild! People with their faces painted with the British Flag, folks in costume and even a STREAKER during half time!! I actually thought the streaker was a woman until he did a somersault mid field. New Zealand won the World Cup 10-13, but to me, the most amazing thing was the attitude of the English fans. Nothing ugly, no disparaging remarks and when the New Zealand team took to the field after the match, the Brits stood up and clapped. It was an amazing show of exceptionally good sportsmanship and made the game that much more fun.
7 Sept 2010 St. Pankras Station Bound for Paris
We toured Oxford yesterday with a dear man, Nick Alcock. Beautiful buildings, gardens and shops. We climbed 2 sets of spiral staircases to the top of a tower in Oxford. What an incredible view we had of the entire town! Wonderful tile roofs, tall spires and cobbled streets.
Lily is bugging me to check her mail, so I will end now until later today. Lots more pics to post...our London hotel had no WiFi so I was kinda' stuck...