Dazed and Confused

Trip Start Dec 16, 2009
Trip End Jan 09, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, December 17, 2009

We arrived in London, dazed and confused, having slept no more than a few minutes during the flight. London's cold dampness slapped us in the face as we got off the plane – though temperatures don’t get that low here, it can be positively bone-chilling.  The flight was delayed getting out of Calgary, so we were running behind to meet Mary’s friend Nicolas.   

After a quick bite to eat, Nicolas was off to sight see, Mary off to Basildon to see family, and me off to Harrod’s, to see if they had done any insane Christmas decorations, and to warm up a bit.  I didn’t make it past the food halls before last night’s lack of sleep kicked in, forcing me to go back and check in to the hostel. 

I didn’t fall asleep on the tube ride back, but was so dazed that I missed my stop, even though I knew it was the next one.  Back to the Ace Hotel, where I had once stayed a few years ago – it’s seemingly gone downhill, but it could have been just the room I was in this time.  Run-down, extremely cramped, and very cold.

A nice hot shower woke me up for a bit and afterward I surfed the net in the lounge, but soon started to doze off.  I must be getting old, because I’ve always been able to skip sleeping on the flight over to London, and still go sightseeing for a full day before conking out.  But this time, I had to take a nap and woke up around 6 PM, debating whether or not I should continue to hide out under the covers and skip dinner.  After 30 minutes of debate, I finally rolled out of bed.

I considered staying in the area for dinner or picking up some groceries, but managed to convince myself to head out to Covent Garden, which is always a fave spot in London.  Always bustling, it’s a great spot to browse and people watch, though it's extremely touristy.  They seemed to cut back on all the special performers of Christmas two years ago, they still had a very tasty-looking Christmas food market.  There were many tempting choices, but having nowhere indoors to sit, it would not have been an enjoyable meal out in London’s damp cold.

Two years ago, Ben, Ha, and I ate at Sofra, a nearby Turkish restaurant – the food was great, and it was once again the choice for tonight.  But truthfully, any warm place would have done nicely on this chilly evening.  Sofra offered a nice set meal for a very reasonable 12 GBP, which included hummus, nine mezes, two skewers, and a meat ball.  Excellent value!   

Never a fan of humus, they make an incredible version here – rich, smooth, creamy, and wonderfully flavoured, you almost want to skip the bread and just eat it with a spoon.  This time the sesame bread wasn’t as good – not as soft and chewy, and not warmed.  It was still a nice way to start the meal. 

Who knew that Turkey produced wine?  Not I!  Who knew that Turkish wine could be pretty crappy?  Not I, at least not until I sampled some tonight!  Described on the menu as being "easy to drink", that statement could not have been further from the truth.  Luckily, the food was still great. 

A baklava and a Turkish coffee would’ve been a supreme way to end the meal but alas, there just wasn’t any room left, and I didn’t want to explode and leave a nasty mess for these nice people to clean up. 

So tired, especially after such a big meal ... I almost passed out a few times on the tube ride back.  It was difficult keeping my eyes open, even when I was only a couple of stops away from West Kensington - I feared falling asleep and missing it altogether, but still couldn't keep my eyes open! 

Back to the hostel - friggin' cold in the rooms!  The radiator wasn't putting out much heat, and I had earlier switched on a second electric heater, but that didn't warm things up much.  It wasn't too bad under the covers, but icicles were practically forming on my nose.  And true to form, even back at home - falling asleep is easy until I get in bed, where I didn't pass out as quickly as hoped.     
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Solange Kei on

Hi Patrick !
I just know London in the summer.
Seems like it´s very different from the winter !
Anyway hope I can travel back to UK soon.
Have a nice trip !!

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