Monday, May 22, 2006

London and lots of errands

We had to fit sightseeing in between traveling tasks today. Oh, but first, last night. We finished up the day with a cappuccino and the biggest piece of chocolate mousse cake I've ever seen. Good thing William helped me eat it.

This morning we had to move our room. Bad, it took forever to get out of the hotel this morning. Good, our room tonight is only on the first floor (which, remember, is the second floor and because of the tall ceilings means only two flights of stairs) and having our own shower. Between moving our luggage and getting a shower, the morning was half over before we'd even started. I haven't had to wait for a bathroom or shower the entire trip but this morning some asshole took 45 minutes in a shared bathroom. I think he should be thrown in the stocks for that. Naked. With shampoo still in his hair. And cold water thrown on him every half hour for an entire day.

Anyhoo, we got out but had a lot of tasks to do today. First was finding a French phrase book and a Paris travel guide. After that we took off to see The Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace because it was something William wanted to do. It was..... interesting..... for the first, oh, ten minutes or so. It was about an hour. I bet every tourist in London was lined up against the gates or down the boulevard. After the first ten minutes, it got sort of boring, but William wanted to see it to the end, sure it would get better. It didn't. They need to freshen up the choreography. They need a new list of songs. About halfway through, I guess they thought the tourists might appreciate something more "contemporary" then regimental band music, so they started in on a vignette of well known songs - only the songs were all from the 60's! Did they think only old people have enough money to travel to London? I was finally reduced to making fun of things to keep myself entertained. I suggested they do something more modern, maybe some Gwen Stefani? "I ain't no hollaback girl! No, I ain't no hollaback girl!" Do a bit of boogying to the beat. The crowd thought I was pretty funny. I bet I got more laughs then all those red coated guards ever have!

Next, hmmmm, I think William's foot was bothering him and he was starving. So we skipped past Westminster Abbey because I didn't think there was any place to eat around there and went straight to Trafalgar Square where we bumped into our friends who we first met in Wales and then bumped into again in Edinburgh. And no, we weren't all traveling on the same schedule. I mean, what are the odds of bumping into them not once, but twice. Three times if you count the first meeting. In a geographic area the size of California!

They suggested we eat at The Cafe in the Crypt, across the street under ..... some famous church. My brain is getting too saturated, I'm not even gonna try to remember the name. Anyhoo, it was fun. Odd though, casually sipping a soft drink while tapping my toes on someone's grave.

Next, back across the street to The National Gallery. William's foot was bothering him so he spent 90% of the time sitting in a comfy chair stairing up into the same painting. I didn't argue, he was happier then getting dragged about. But Oh! My! Oh! Wow! Paintings I've seen in pictures before. Painters who's lives are legend. Monet! Picasso! Rembrandt! Leonardo! Poussin! Gaugin! Cassatt! My favorites are the Impressionists. I didn't try to look at everything, it would have taken an entire day. So I focused on the art I liked best and just did a quick run through of the rest. Afterwards we went back outside and played around the fountains and pigeons for awhile. William made a lot of new friends. Hehehe. I'll have to post photos of it.

We went back to Westminster Abbey only to discover they had closed visiting hours just minutes before we arrived. This was the second day we'd tried to go there and found it closed - argh!

So off we went to get our tickets for Paris. We booked for tomorrow afternoon for three nights, arriving back in London on Friday evening. We figured it would be easier to get hotel rooms during the week then the weekend, but now I realize we should have booked morning departures and not afternoon, so we wouldn't have two afternoons with our luggage in tow. Oh well.

We picked up our laundry next, no, NEXT we bumped into another person we knew! Our friend Maria from Brazil who we had befriended in Bath. I mean, gee, it's getting so I wouldn't be surprised at bumping into just about anyone we know! How cool is that! So, anyhoo, laundry, which we'd dropped off at a Laundromat this morning. We got so lost trying to find the address this morning that we paid extra to have it done instead of doing it ourselves. The little map we had on how to get there was written in code apparently, it made NO sense. Anyhoo, laundry clean, we spent time trying to get a sense of what to do about hotels and what to do about the several days we'll have left when we return from Paris. All the decisions that had to be made hinge on all the other decisions, and so we sort of went around in mental circles trying to come up with a cohesive whole. Finally we gave up, our brains ran out of energy, we hadn't eaten in almost 7 hours, so we went out to eat instead. Went around in circles again trying to find the closest bus stop (the neighborhood we're staying in, I SWEAR, is some sort of bizarre warped time and space hole - directions turn back on each other, roads move around - like Alice in Wonderland! - but the good news is we finally found the street we were looking for and a great Italian restaurant. We were both happy as they had pasta AND pizza. And across the street I noticed a Vietnamese restaurant I hope to try for lunch tomorrow.

Anyhoo, I tried finding a hotel on line tonight but it's too late for me to make a decision without panicking - don't want a cheap hotel only to get there and find out it's close to Paris, not in Paris. We'll try telephoning some places tomorrow and if that doesn't work, we'll be going to Paris and figuring out where we'll stay when we get there. GULP!

When we come back, we're not sure what we want to do with the last few days of our vacation. In hindsight we should have taken an extra day in each of our favorite areas, which would be just about everywhere we stopped so far. We could just come back and stay in London except it's so damn expensive here that we probably won't. William wants to go to Dublin (yes, I know, that's in Ireland) or Inverness (which probably won't happen because it's really just too far away now). I suggested Stratford-on-Avon and/or Oxford. Or perhaps the seaside, although I have no idea which part of the seaside would be a good idea. Anyone have any suggestions?

Okay, it's late. Next time you hear from me, I'll be probably completely insane from trying to understand and be understood in French. AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous Queen Elizabeth II said...

You are now hereby banned from using the word "anyhoo" for the next five blog entries, by order of the queen.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Kirsty said...

Par Lay Voo Fraunch Hay?


Poor "wills"...I'll send healing thoughts across the pond...after all, I'm only 5 hours from you here in New England! Have funfunfun! Take a picture of the Eiffel for me, will ya?! I know, it's like so much a cliche, but hey, you just gotta do it!

Hugs and kisses, and lots of love!
Kirsty Moonsinger

7:05 PM  

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