Spring Break Part 3: London

(Written: 13/03/09, 14:16)

I am on the train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, but before I let that adventure cloud my mind, I want to finish writing about Spring Break.

After a turbulent flight and another hard landing: London. Friends of Mr. B’s brother, Jin and Pete, let us stay in their very nice flat right near Abbey Road/Maida Vale. The area was all patisseries and new yoga studios. I found it pretty cute and fitting for the two young professionals.

The first night we didn’t see Jin and Pete much. We went to Picadilly Circus to walk around and catch a glimpse of some monuments and then we had dinner at a French-ish restaurant. I actually had an English dish- shepherd’s pie- followed by and incredible dessert of a waffle topped with ice cream and maple syrup. Mr. B excused the fact that the syrup was not real maple since we were so far from the proper type of forests. The next day we decided to tackle as many of the tourist spots as we could. We started in Trafalgar Square, watched the changing of the horse guards, strolled over to Buckingham Palace, did the audio tour of Westminster Abbey which was so gorgeous inside, then we took a look at Big Ben and Parliament on our way out of there.

After that we had some authentic fish & chips at The Old Shades which I don’t think Mr. B liked too much. I thought they were pretty much as good as deep fried fish can be…

In the afternoon we took the tube to the Tower of London and spent a long time there. We had hoped to learn a little more about the tower’s grizzly history but there was only one small room covering the subject of torture. After that we got a “snack” at Pizza Hut (which I can defend as a cultural experience), quickly went back to the flat for our show tickets, then went back to Piccadilly Circus/The West End to see Phantom of the Opera in Her Majesty’s Theater. Luckily, we had bought the full day tube passes!

Phantom was very good. We sat in the front row, just slightly left of center. Mr. B really appreciated his gift (the tickets) and I was so excited to see a performance! I was definitely able to appreciate the show better than the last time I saw it when I was 8 or 9. However, due to our proximity we were able to witness a little too much snot flying from the Phantom’s nose. From now on we may have to stick to the 3rd and 4th rows.

We met Jin and Pete for “dinner” (which was more like another snack) and drinks at Cafe Boheme in Soho. It was a fun area with a vivacious nightlife. Jin and Pete were great company and we had fun talking. They were actually the ones who convinced me to go to Amsterdam this weekend.

Thursday we didn’t do much except head back to the airport and catch our plane back to Rome.

All in all, I think London is really great. I love the tube- so fast and efficient, and always so polite, announcing delays in cute British accents even though train arrival times are already posted digitally. It seems like a very modern city and things are pretty close together. There is a lot of diversity so I didn’t feel like we stood out too much. It felt like a mellowed out New York much more than Boston does; still busy and bustling and everyone on their separate daily missions, but more awareness that other people are in the world… It was also a fun city and I’d love to spend more time there, just living. We’ll just have to wait and see about the possibility of that…

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