Sunday, August 29, 2010

London Day 1

Our train ride from Paris was a noisy one. A family with several children were also in the first class cabin with us. Between the three British women that appeared to be traveling together they had about fifty seven children. They started off adorable, but it all went downhill. One of the mothers behind us was quite stern with her crying child, giving that "or I'm going to give you something to cry about" speech. The other mothers and aunties were content to let their little monsters all but fling poo by the end of the trip. It was like watching millions of years of evolution devolve in a couple of hours. We managed to keep our head phones on while screaming crying banging chaos whirled around us.

We failed to note they served dinner on the train and for fear we wouldn't be able to eat until we got to London, decided to eat at Paris Disneyland. Unfortunately the dinner they served on the train was yummy so we had no choice but to power through the chicken, potatoes au gratin, green salad with olive oil balsamic, yummy bread rolls, wine, a pear tart, and a small square of dark chocolate and coffee. It put the giant cheese and pesto sandwich I had only about an hour earlier to complete shame.

Finally free of the noisy, though incredibly smooth and delicious prison experience, we arrived in London. The Eurorail station at St. Pancras is one of the hugest buildings I have seen. We hopped in the underground the tube and hopped out at Tower Hill. Our hotel is quite lovely and just a block from the Tower of London.

Our first day we walked through an ocean of people down to Picadilly Circus and ended up at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Saw Rembrandts, Picassos, Monets, Manets, Degas, Van Gogh, and many more, all amazing.

We started our eating at Pret a Manger which is French for "ready to eat."  They had all kinds of yummy sandwiches, and as our day progressed found them to be on every corner. Still yummy and reasonably priced. We ate a late lunch / early dinner at a sushi bar called Yo Sushi. It's a chain, but it had a conveyor belt, so instead of beer I filled up on sake and some pretty yummy fish. I thought it was fairly reasonable for how much we ate.

It tried to rain in the afternoon and frankly didn't do a very good job of it. But we did get some good photos of wet streets and lights. There was a real live Scotsman playing the real pipes and he was really good. His fingers were a blur. Then he had to go and play Amazing Grace and I could feel myself getting all emotional.

By nightfall we returned to Trafalgar Square to get a photo with a lion statue, because, and then wandered down to Big Ben, despite the fact it was nearing freezing and I could feel what was left of my feet dribbling out the sides. We arrived at precisely 11:00. The huge bonging chimes were hair-raisingly beautiful. Gregory used the wide angle lens to capture a cloudy veiled moon gazing down on the giant clock.

More tomorrow!

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