Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Part Two: A Londoner in London

By the time we arrived in London, we were hitting the one-week vacation hump. We were tired. Sasha had successfully managed to cram amazing activities into every single day we were in Switzerland, making the most of our week there.

But with only three full days to spend in London, we didn't want to overextend ourselves by visiting every single tourist site. "I don't feel the same pressure to see everything in London," I told Jay and Court, "because somehow, I have this feeling that I'll be back again."

Since we all wanted to do different things, we figured out the best way to organize our time in London was to assign one day per person. Each day would be assigned a "team leader." On that day, the team leader would be in charge of planning the day's activities and would also have veto power. Court was given Thursday, Jay took Friday and I was in charge of Saturday's activities.

The night before Court's "special day" began, we met up with Tristan.

Exactly a year after Sasha left for Rwanda, Tristan left for a teaching position in the UK. (The title of this post is a reference to the fact that Tristan, like Courtney, is originally from London, Ontario.)

A short tube ride away from our hotel in Hammersmith, Tristan joined us in Chiswick. (I predicted he would be wearing a hot dog t-shirt. He was not. I guess that's what happens when you become a teacher.)

Knowing that we were starving for food and thirsty for beer, Tristan took us to the only affordably priced delicious restaurant in London, Franco Manca.

Dinner for £43.20 ($70.00) was easy to swallow.

With a renewed burst of energy, we followed Tristan to "his pub," where everyone knew his name. "It's just like Coronation Street," he told us.

I've never seen Coronation Street, but I'll admit that I was impressed by Tristan's popularity.

Courtney's Special Day

Court only had two must-do items on her list for her special day: 

1. Brunch
2. Shopping

Based on Tristan's recommendation, we checked out The Breakfast Club in Hoxton, which has a speakeasy in the back called The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.

And then, after some tricky navigation on my part, we headed to Brick Lanes for an afternoon of shopping.

After Court had successfully spent her life savings, we headed to Brixton to meet my friend Jo and her boyfriend Duncan for dinner. 

Long-time readers of my blog will remember Jo as being my bugnet mate in Vanuatu and my co-conspirator in Australia. She's still short. (Thanks for taking us out Jo and Duncan!)

Jay's Special Day

After we moved hotels to our new location at the Westminster Bridge Park Plaza, it was time for Jay's special day. He only had two items on his list:

1. Get coffee.
2. Go to the London Design Museum.

Since we finished up at the Design Museum after a couple of hours, we decided to tack the London Eye on to the end of the day's activities.

It seemed like a great idea at the time. The only problem is, I'm terrified of heights.

Jay and Court didn't seem to mind, though.

After showering, it was time to meet Tristan for a late night Indian food dinner and Friday night drinks.


With Shark Ups in hand, we moved onwards to Leicester Square for last call.

Several hours later and fully sharked up, we somehow we ended up The Roxy.

Success! (Such a success, in fact, that Tristan didn't make it home and stayed at our swanky hotel instead.) 

Jessica's Special Day

On my special day, we learned some very important lessons:

1. Don't try to sightsee on your last day.
2. Don't stay out until 3:00 am before sightseeing.
3. Don't pay $40 for a double-decker bus tour.
4. Don't go to free museums on a Saturday.
5. Don't attempt to take the tube anywhere at rush hour on a Saturday, particularly when other lines are down. 

The day, apart from a delicious brunch in Chelsea, was kind of a fail. 

There was only one way to turn it around. . .

. . .room service!

The last day may have been a bit of a bust, but don't worry London. We'll be back.

(Thanks to Tristan for hanging out with us and apologies to all my friends in London that I didn't get a chance to see.)

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