Westminster, but i hate blogger and i'm not going through all that again
waiting for the Eurostar
some apartment between the metro and our couchsurfing flat
marie-jeanne's flat is the second balcony down on the left side
Tubed to St. Pancras and walked to the British Library to see the special collections room with Bibles and Qurans from over 1500 years ago and original pieces of work by Jane Austen, the Beatles, Keats, Shakespeare, etc.
Tubed close to the British Museum. Stopped to get food at a Pret a Manger shop on the way - gross. We ended up eating at some little cafe in Russel Square Park, though, which was green and nice. We did the Rick Steves audio guide in the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone and mummies were cool. The crowd was not.
Tubed to Picadilly Circus. Not as impressive or large as Time Square, but crazy nonetheless. Also, the Tower of London and British Museum were not as impressive as the Capitol in D.C. or the Smithsonian. Im' not complaining, both places were great. I just think it's interesting that we romanticize about going to Europe to see these old places when most Americans don't travel very much inside of America and we have some much more remarkable places to visit and things to see.
Tubed to St. Paul's. it was closed, but wow. By far the most amazing single sight we saw today. Inspiring. We walked across the Millenium Bridge (Harry Potter bridge) and went to see if we could see the inside of the Globe (still pissed about missing the show last night). We got in through some emergency exit in a cafe attached to it and poked around. We got chased out by a security guard who was American. Ironic. I mean come on, brother, we're supposed to look out for each other. We asked some guy to take a picture for us in front of the Globe but he couldn't figure out where the lens of the camera was I guess. Hence the following series of pictures with a finger in them:
the Millenium Bridge and the Tate Modern behind it
Walked down the south side of the Thames to do the London Eye - just awesome - and saw that London stretched out as far as we could see in every direction.
Josephine in the London Eye
view of Parliament and Big Ben from the eye,
right before it explodes to the 1812 Overture
We came back to base camp and had some late dinner (10pm) with Alvaro and his daughter, Vanessa, who just returned home. We have to remember to do something nice for this family. Tomorrow = lots more walking and Paris.
on the tube to Victoria Underground Station
a picture of Alvaro that we snagged from Facebook
because I forgot to take one of him while we were there. Duh.
It is incredible that you can travel 6000+ miles and find yourself in the warmth and comfort of a complete stranger's home/flat. It's even more incredible that they don't feel like strangers after much time at all. A 5'5" Brazilian man wearing slippers that look like dogs, who makes us food at 1am despite his 7am church meetings the next morning is my new best friend. Tomorrow is the first day of our hectic, touristy schedule. We'll see how it goes . . . in a lot more rain.
our first video of the trip. not the best filiming,
but i was pretty dang tired and the place is small
everything we took with us
3 goals for the other side of the world:
Day 1: I Hate Chicago
On the plane to Chicago right now. It was delayed. For . . . absolutely no reason at all. I am pissed off. If we have the same old Jo and Doug bad travel luck (please see Jamaica, and getting stuck in Las Vegas, Charlotte, Aruba, etc.), I will just snap.
I've planned the crap out of this trip. I'm acutally a little worried the first few days may seem too rigid because of it. We'll hit our comfortable stride at some point, I'm sure. Sooner rather than later. I have to unwind somehow. I'm worried about flights and money and weather and patches. I worry too much . . . even about meticulously staying inside these lines in this leather journal that makes me feel like Hemingway. No more worrying.
* * *
9pm Greenwich Mean Time. Still not in London. We should be enjoying the end of MacBeth right now as yardlings in the Globe Theater (one of my trip highlights). Instead we're 37,000 feet in the air and cutting up our London itinerary. I despise, with all the emotion, anger and over-dramaticness I can muster, the US airline industry.
We spent the night in Chicago airport last night. It was freezing (as airports always are at night), and I had to sit there and watch my petite wife freeze and struggle to get some sleep and me not be able to do anything about it. When we landed at Chicago from SLC, we could see our original plane waiting at the gate. By the time the cattle got off the damn plane and we ran to our gate, the plane was gone. I lost it, as usual in these situations, and swore and complained. Jo got pissed at me (like she always does in these situations), and we had a big fight.
I didn't sleep at all. I walked the opposite direction down a moving sidewalk and then let it carry me back to the end for an hour. I watched a mouse come in and out of the walls by our gate. I yelled at a janitor in the bathroom who wouldn't let me use it and then used it anyway (he was just standing there). I thought about how much the US airline industry hates its passengers.
I felt more alone than I think I've felt in a long time. Walking up and down the terminal halls of an abandoned O'Hare airport, cursing the world for bringing bad weather to my vacation, causing a rift between Jo and I at the onset of it and erasing a day of trip we will likely never be able to take again. I won't let this ruin the trip, but it sure dumped all over the first day of something we've been looking forward to, working for and paying for for a long, long time.
- The Tower of London
- Thames River Cruise
- MacBeth @ the Globe