Last day in Europe

Trip Start Apr 05, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I leave for the airport in 90 minutes... I really could stay longer in London and Europe. I have so many friends in this town, and London has a special vibe about it that I have missed for a long time. And it would have been great to visit Erin and my cousin in France this summer... I'll just have to come back sometime soon. Five years away was far too long (another downside of living Down Under!, although there are certainly many upsides--like the weather!). Speaking of the weather, of course the sun came out today. It is still cold, but the past two days have really been miserable weatherwise. Even the Londoners have been whinging (although that isn't really something too out of the ordinary). :)

To finish where I left off last... Erin and I braved the wet and windy conditions and met Glenn at the Notting Hill tube stop to journey to Camden. I hadn't been up there for over eight years, since I was living up that way. Erin and I debated whether to buy a travel card or a one way journey. We chose wrong, as it turned out the Northern line was shut down where we wanted to go and we ended up taking a cab anyway! We rocked up to Bar Fly, which was absolutely packed! Glenn's friend had invited us to see the "U2 of Latvia", a band called Brainstorm. Pretty much all of London's Latvian community had come out to see the band--packed inside the front room of a tiny bar. It was chaos. Brainstrom had recently played to 100,000 people in their homeland, so this was quite a different gig. They only played for an hour, but the music was good and two beers did a lot to help with my hangover and cold. :) After the show, we hung around for an hour or so and talked to Glenn's friends before heading over to Wagamama's for some noodles. Glenn bailed on us to have dinner with his girlfriend, but Erin and I fought our fatigue and headed out with the boys to check out the hotspot for late night Sunday sessions called Eclipse. This bar would have fit right in in Sydney (minus the cold and all the jackets). We had a drink, and then I had to bail at 11pm. My cold was not doing wonders for my late night staying power, especially if we were going to have a full day out and about on Monday.

Erin and I had a bit of a sleep in yesterday and then headed out to meet my frined Nick for lunch near Embankment (after grabbing our requisite Starbucks! I remember when the first Starbucks came to London, and now they are everywhere. Just like the rest of the world). It was great to catch up with Nick, who had left Sydney about six months before I did. Afterwards, Erin and I popped into the Half Price Ticket Booth and picked up theatre tickets for "Breakfast with Mugabe" later that evening. My cousin Allison said she'd join us as well. Erin and I walked over to the Tate Modern, where we saw a few exhibits that I really enjoyed, picked up some prints, and had a brownie. Then it was time to brave the even colder and wetter weather and journey back towards Covent Garden. We were pretty miserable and wet (and I was hungry, which for any of you who know me, know that that is not a good thing for my attitude!). But after meeting up with Allison and her boyfriend Neil, we ducked into an Indian restaurant and had a good meal. The play was pretty good, and only 90 minutes, which made for getting home at a good hour.

I now need to pack everything up, although it shouldn't be that difficult. I'm returning the favor of so many friends (thanks Matt, Jenngerg, and Steve and Ellen!) who brought bags back to the States for me, and am brining a large suitcase to California for my aunt. Dick and Anne (my uncle and aunt) have just bought a house in Sonoma and are moving there in a month, after living overseas for over 20 years! All the family is returning "home".

I hope I can shake this cold in 48 hours, as on Thursday we are off to Cabo for lots of revelry and festivity for Peter and Amy's wedding! So, although the travels for this part of my endless summer are coming to a close, it is only the beginning of North America endless summer 2006. :)

See many of you very soon.
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