Monday, March 10, 2014

London Honeymoon: Days 1 & 2

Saturday, Day 1

From Heathrow, we realized we hadn't done a lot of research on how to get around. It's not that we thought we'd have our smartphones with us, it's just that we didn't think about how much we rely on them to get around on the fly! We found the Underground without too much trouble and spoke to someone at a booth about what Oyster card (like the Charlie Cards for the MBTA) to get. Two 7-day passes for zones 1 & 2 were bought and we got directions for what lines to use for our hotel. We had some fun giggling at the station name of Cockfosters, which was announced repeatedly as the end-of-line station.

Navigating the "tube" stations hasn't been very difficult. Either they're not that hard to navigate with all the signs, or we're just very used to the arrangement since it seems a lot like the train system back home. The major difference is that you have to tap your card out at each station so you get charged appropriately. Due to our 7-day passes, I don't think we have to worry about those charges. We also get refunded for the £5 deposit on each card when we go back to the station at the end of our trip.

The Eye of London, right by our hotel.
By the time we got to our hotel, it was somewhere around or after check-in time at 2 PM local. The hotel is not very far from Waterloo station in the Bakerloo line. The front desk let us know that they gave us a free room upgrade to a studio suite, which has a nice little sitting area. No complaints from us! It's nice to have a bit of extra space and not just a little bedroom. Sadly, our view is entirely of the hotel next door, which has a bright blue light topping it at night. Our curtains are very efficient at blocking light, however I couldn't get them all the way closed for the first few hours of sleep.

Where I wrote this blog post.
After we settled in and figured out how to activate the lights (insert room card in a slot by the door), we did a few things in an order I can no longer remember: read for a bit, struggled to find somewhere to eat using yelp.co.uk, and went down the street to look for some kind of deli. We hadn't visited an ATM yet, so there were a few places close by that we couldn't go to. We both got fish & chips at a little hole in the wall. It seemed very delicious, but we were also very hungry by that point. We went back to the hotel in a food coma, read some more, and then slept. We fell asleep sometime around or after 7 PM and stayed in bed till 11 AM on Sunday, though we woke up several times in the night.

Sunday, Day 2

After a late start, we did some more searching online for where to go today. Markets seem pretty popular, but we weren't in the mood for that kind of wandering. We decided to pick a destination and then wander in that area. Harrod's was it, so we noted down the directions and headed off. We found a much closer entrance into the crazy Waterloo station this time, by the national rail. It cut our trek from the hotel to station by about half. On the train, I noted that the subway trains are a bit narrower here than in Boston, much cleaner, much comfier, and it's a much smoother ride. They're not kidding about "minding the gap" at some of the stations: there as as much as a one foot gap between the train and platform edge in some stations, plus sometimes a bit of a step down (as you exit).

One of many pastry cases at Harrod's.
Harrod's is huge and expensive. You can find several room of the same kinds of things (like purses and jewelry). The food areas were neat, it's basically just a huge store of many different rooms. It's not all open like department stores tend to be in the USA. The booze collection on the lowest floor (one floor below street level) was pretty neat. We found some bottles of scotch that were £30k!

We headed back out into the lovely weather (a high of 17ÂșC, we wished we had brought shorts) and down the road into Victoria & Albert's Museum. To be honest, the British history stuff was a bit boring to us, being mostly religious artifacts (British Google wants me to spell this as "artefacts") & bits of architecture. The Chinese & Japanese collections were more interesting. There was no weaponry in that museum. We grabbed lunch at a place called "Eat." which was pretty good. Hulky had a hot meat pie, with beef & bacon I think, and a side of very tasty mashed potatoes. I grabbed a sandwich (gasp! I know, not gluten-free like I usually do) and a very refreshing berry juice. I wouldn't mind eating there again. It reminded me of a Panera in terms of relative price & options, but possibly better quality food. After that, we went to the Science Museum, which had a very good ground floor collection with Industrial era items, but the layout was atrocious. The map didn't make anything clear. We couldn't find stairs to use between floors as it seemed like every staircase we encountered ended with fire exit doors. They were not well signed.

It was around mid-afternoon by then, so we headed back to the hotel to rest our feet and legs. Hulky had a bath and fell asleep afterwards. I am messing with photos and preparing to rouse him so we can find food. We're thinking of catching a movie tonight, as I don't think we have enough energy to hunt down a club. I had a mocha at the Science Museum, which I hope won't interfere too much with a reasonable bedtime. We're planning on calling the front desk to wake us around 7 AM so we can get started earlier tomorrow.

Later: We went and saw the new 300 movie, which was fun. It was bloody & violent just like the last one, but this sex scene was pretty bad in our opinion. Maybe we're just not into fight-sex?

More photos can be found in my London Honeymoon set on Flickr.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like you guys are off to a good start.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm gonna beat the sex out of you!

    ReplyDelete