London Calling

Trip Start Jun 23, 2009
Trip End Jul 08, 2009

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Where I stayed
Premier Inn Kings Cross St. Pancras

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, June 25, 2009

London is awesome!!  We only went here because this is where we could all fly into.  Too bad we didn't have more time.  We arrived and it took over an hour to get through customs (Noel - five minutes).  Then we took the Heathrow Connect to the tube. This is the first time we saw the phrase "mind the gap". It took awhile to find our hotel which was only a couple blocks from the station. We met up with Noel and found a pub to get something to eat.  It was the best fish and chips I've ever had!

We took the train to Parliament and saw Big Ben. We crossed the Westminster Bridge (scarey) and had a beer outside the London Eye.  It was a clear day, but we didn't want to spend a half hour on the London Eye.  We walked along the river Thames and saw a bunch of street performers. One guy doing the limbo went under the stick that was six inches off the ground!

We saw people with Harrod's bags and thought we saw the building across the river.  We walked across the Jubilee bridge (very scarey) to the other side.  We never found Harrod's, but we did end up in Trafalger Square.  The National Gallery was closing.  We walked a little furtther through the Victoria Gate into St. James Place.  We saw the changing of the black guard which was unexpected.  This wasn't the "Changing of the Guard" at Buckingham Palace.  We're not actually sure what they were guarding.  We walked further to Buckingham Palace.

Next we looked at the map at the adjacent park and saw that there was a Hard Rock Cafe across the park.  Since Noel collects Hard Rock shirts, we were on our way.  We had a drink and then left for the hotel.  We had dinner at The Fellows.  It took forever to get service, but once we did, the food was excellent.  We went to the bar at the hotel, and when Chuck tried to order a martini with gin, they had no idea what he was talking about.  They have some kind of bottle of alcohol that has a brand name of Martini, but they didn't even know what kind of alcohol that was.  I did remind the bartender that James Bond was from London, but he didn't get it.  Turns out he was from Spain.  There was a whole group of people from some acting school that just had their final performance.  They were smoking dope right in the bar!

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, which included baked beans, mushrooms and tomatoes along with breakfast food.  We then went to the Tower of London and saw the royal bling.  We could have spent a day there, but we had to get to the train station to get our train to Paris.

The chunnel was super-fast, and Noel had to sit next to a VERY strange fellow.  Noel said he was a few pence short of a pound.

I was surprised that the women in London were not very fashionable, but the men were.  It seems pinstripes are in, which is fine for the tall, skinny men, but there was a very large man who had a whole lot of pinstripes going on.  He looked like a zebra or a clown.

We got to Gare du Nord station and needed to validate our Eurail pass and get reservations for Switzerland.  It took forever.  And the whole time there were three guys banging on empty plastic drums and blowing whistles while waving orange flags with writing.  Some kind of protest I think.

There were women coming up to us asking if we spoke English and then asking us to read a paper which asked for money.  We finally got our reservations and then tried to buy bus tickets.  We tried several different machines with several different credit cards and none of them worked.  We finally found a ticket window, got tickets and got on the bus.  It was rush hour and the bus stopped every other block.  We got to our stop and again, it took awhile to find our hotel.  We dumped our bags and ran to the metro to get to the Eiffel Tower for our 9:00 pm dinner reservations.  We made it just in time.  The food was excellent and Chuck and Noel walked around the perimeter while I sat on a stairwell (scariest).

We took the metro back to the hotel and stopped at a little cafe to have a glass of wine and a beer.  That was when we saw the tv that said that Michael Jackson died of a heart attack.  It's been all Michael all the time since then on the radios.  The owner, Yasmin was helping us learn some french words since he spoke no English.  Then we met Moses, an older man from South Africa that lived in New Jersey for four years, London for awhile and now Paris.  He is a decorator for the French Senate.  He was very interesting and helpful.  Yasmin's friends or family were interesting too.  There was an older woman sitting against the wall who smiled alot.  There was a guy who looked just like John Belushi who was wearing a skirt and Dr. Scholl's sandals.  They were all friendly and helpful.

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