Thursday, January 6, 2011

Remember How I Went to Europe 3 Months Ago? (Blog Post for Day 2)

Remember how I went on a trip, say, about 3 months ago? Well, I've been meaning to write some blog posts about it and I figured "What better time to start than 3 months after the fact?"

Here is the lowdown on Day 2 in London:

   We started our second day in London by trying to sleep off some of our jet lag. After we slept in, we went to Leicester (prounounced "lester") Square to try to score some half-price tickets to West End shows at the TKTS booth. We got half-price tickets for Billy Elliott (a musical) for that night and "The Mousetrap" (a mystery thriller) the next night. We dressed up because we had an 11:30 appointment for Tea at the Ritz Hotel --and as a "proper" British place for tea they actually have a dress code-- no jeans or "trainers" (sneakers)-- and don't allow photos (guarding against tourists like us). I am not a tea-drinker (Mormons don't drink caffeinated tea), so I was quite surprised to find with my first experience with herbal tea that the tea itself was actually my favorite part of "tea." (I just used the word "tea" five times in one sentence. Does that get me some kind of "worst writing" award? I think I will have nightmares tonight about failing a college paper because I used the same word too many times. Yes, my professors were that anal. Am I right, other folks who took Music 301?)

The room where they had tea was gorgeous. (Click on the link to see a picture). They had a live pianist (which brought back memories of my college assignment of playing background music at the Skyroom Restaurant) and even had a card for you to fill out with any requests of songs for him to play. I ordered herbal Passion-Fruit and Orange Tea--it was delicious (of course lots of sugar and a spot o' cream probably helped a bit). It came in a beautiful silver tea pot, complete with a slotted spoon to go over the cup to strain out any extra tea bits as you poured it. They also had dainty tea sandwiches (my favorite were little eclair-shaped tubes of choux pastry filled with egg salad), a collection of precious teeny pastries and British scones with clotted cream and jam. And while the clotted cream was to die for, I am actually conceited enough in my cooking abilities to think that my scones are better. :)

We followed tea with a "hop on, hop off" bus tour to do a quick once-over of London. It was a gorgeous clear day (although quite nippy on the top of an open bus), so we got off to take advantage of the weather and do the London Eye- a giant observation wheel. There were gorgeous views and more importantly, it was warm with no wind inside. Then we got back on our tour bus and finished the tour and then hopped on another line to see Kensington Palace, Harrods, Knightsbridge and Chelsea.
In front of Hyde Park

We got off in time to make our way desperately to a bathroom (yes, even in London I still gotta go) and then to grab a sandwich before going to Billy Elliott. We found an outlet of Pret a Manger ("pray ah manzhay"- which Ranell, who actually speaks some French, informed me means "ready to eat,"), a grab-and-go place that is as prevalent in London as Starbucks is here, and got the necessary sustenance to survive a West End show.

Palaces of Westminster
Trafalgar Square

On Westminster Bridge

Inside the London Eye

Billy Elliot was a fantastic show with AMAZING dancing-- much of it from the 12-year-old boy who was the star. Unfortunately, it was also the highest number of f-words that I have ever heard in a single sitting in my life. (Although with the heavy accents it took a second to register what exactly they were saying. "Huh? Oh THAT'S what they said.)  Otherwise the show was awesome. Then we headed back in the direction of our hotel via an internet cafe.

  • On Day 1, it took a major effort to stay awake and interested in what we were doing ("I really like seeing old castles, I really like seeing old castles...") but Day 2 was much more easily enjoyable. Jet lag is tough. (I know. I hear you saying, "Boo hoo for you. You had jet lag in London. Poor baby.)
  • London is stinkin' expensive. Most of my budget was dropped on admissions. It seems like every stinking church in this city wants you to pay £17 to see the graves of famous dead people. I guess they have to get the money to maintain the building from somewhere and the dead people don't keep paying....
  • I would have worried about gaining a pants size except that we were walking almost all day and have mostly grabbed quick food on the run... although I had at least 3-4 croissants or pastries in the first two days and that can't possibly be good for you.
  • Someone one of these days is going to discover that butter is the miracle food that is good for you, I just know it. :) 
  • Blogger has no really effective way to lay out pictures
  • I have two extra bullets at the end of these observations that I can't seem to get rid of
  • View of Tower Bridge
So that's all for today. At this rate, I will finish posting about my Europe trip by mid 2013.


    Ranell said...

    You're two days ahead of me! I think I'll just post a link on my blog to your blog and say, "I was there too!"

    It was fun to read about our trip ... you have a remarkable memory for details. I had already forgotten a lot of those details, especially the tea flavor. Any chance you remember what flavor I got? I really liked it!

    K kid said...

    Ranell, you got Chamomile Tea. :) And I remember that I requested "The Way You Look Tonight" and "All I Ask of You" for the pianist to play-- and one other I don't remember....

    Greek Goddess said...

    Reading your day 2 made me nostalgic for my days there...
    That's so funny Ranell chose chamomile tea. We always used that when we were sick growing up, so it's never been my tea of choice for a regular day! :)

    Wish I could have done the trip with you. But it's good to live through your post.