London standard--dreary and wet, and lots of fun

Trip Start Apr 05, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Alas, the beautiful weather I'd had in London a week and a half ago was not to be for Erin's first visit to London. But how much more typical can you get than drizzle and cold (low 50Fs)? Erin said her expectations for the weather were not high. Regardless, I love London, and it fun to be back here for a few days. It is even nicer to be staying at my aunt and uncle's cozy flat, have some home cooked meals (Anne's a great chef!), and catch up with friends that I know both from London and Sydney.

Yesterday, Erin and I got a bit of a late start, but we covered some serious ground. We're about the same height and like to walk at a decent pace, which is great. We started off at Kensington Palace (which I'd never actually taken a tour of), then through Hyde Park, St James Park, Green Park, etc., passing Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and many more sights. We also went to the Churchill War Rooms, which were very interesting (but information overload with all the new interactive media in the museum) and another spot I'd not yet been to. We finished up our afternoon (well, early evening, but the sun sets late here) with a coffee in Trafalger Square and a wander through Soho. We passed Planet Hollywood, for old times sake, but I did not feel a need to go in... (After working there for nearly 18 months 8-9 years ago, passing by was enough, or so I thought...stay tuned).

We caught the 9 bus back to Holland Park, and were greeting by amazing smells of homemade lasagne in the oven, and glasses of red wine. Nice. After dinner with my aunt and uncle, Erin and I prepped to go out. Our going out clothing choices were limited, especially as neither of us had much to wear in this cold weather. I got to debut my new green coat, however, that I had made in Vietnam. :)

My friend Pip, who I hadn't seen for over two and a half years since she's left Sydney, met us at the flat (where we were sneaking a peak at the Eurovision contest) and then we caught a cab to Notting Hill where we met up with my friend Glenn for a few drinks. I love London cabbies and how they always know where they are going. After a few wines at the pub (which kicked us out at the typical hour of 11pm!), Pip headed home and Glen, Erin and I heading out to a bar that Glenn said was "close to Planet Hollywood". Well, the bar was not only close to Planet, it actually was the revamped lowest level of the restaurant, which must have been sold off! Very surreal to be dancing away in what used to be the lower level function room and staff meeting room/cinema. So, I've come full circle on my Planet experience. :) The music was your standard pop/house, which I love and which Erin knew none of (I'm going to miss all the dance music when I move back to the States...on Tuesday!), and the drinks were strong. Erin and I realised it was the first night that we'd actually really been out together! Around 2:30am we tried to make our way into a club, but were told that David Beckham and P Diddy had just entered and it was unlikely people like us were going to get in. Ah well. Glenn called ahead to another bar and was able to get us in for one last drink at a place done up like an old speakeasy gin joint called Milk and Honey. We finally made it home shortly before 4am.

Suffice to say, I'm feeling a little worse for wear. Erin is out buying some clothes, as all she has for the next two months in Paris is the one backpackful she brought with her. I'm catching up on emails and trying to wake up before we meet up with Glenn and his friends to see a band in Camden (my old stomping ground) around 6pm.

Tomorrow I'm taking Erin around for some more touring, as well as meeting up with my friend Nick for lunch. We're hoping to catch a play tomorrow night before we both head our separate ways on Tuesday.

I wish I had more time here in London and Europe. It would be great to go to Paris again, as well as see some other friends that live here. I may just have to come back sometime soon... I am looking forward, however, to the wedding in Cabo, as well as being home in California and catching up with so many friends.

Time to get a coffee and wake up some more before heading out.
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