I've always thought of myself as quite a Britophile, someone smitten with all things Britian. I love (most) British literature, the idea of cool rainy days, lush landscapes, history stretching back more than the American timeline, amazing architecture, BBC mysteries, BBC costume dramas, BBC's Top Gear...
After many years of loving British culture from afar, Chad and I finally got to go to London. Chad went to London ahead of me for a week of work. That week was hot and sunny, reaching 85 degrees Fahrenheit most days. Chad told me not to bring a jacket or coat. Luckily, I checked the weather forecast, and packed somewhat appropriately for our week of vacation together in London. That week was suddenly fall with drippy, sometimes driving, rains and temperatures that hovered around 57 degrees Fahrenheit each day.
At first, I loved the cool, damp weather, but soon tired of always feeling damp and chilled. I gave up fighting the frizz that was my hair after trying some of Chad's hair shellac, and finding that not even that paste could calm my wiry mess. I know this sounds shallow, but it's hard to enjoy yourself when every time you catch sight of your reflection you think, "Ick. What is happening with my hair?"
Upon my sleep-deprived, jet-lagged arrival to Heathrow airport, I caught the Heathrow Express, a very fast train, to Paddington Station where I caught a cab to our hotel. Planes, trains and automobiles? Yes. Paddington Station was charming in a well-maintained historical-looking way. My cab driver was everything I could have hoped for: a nice, chatty man who pointed out every neighborhood, landmark, building and bridge of interest. He seemed really pleasantly surprised when I tipped him 15%, saying, "Ya shore?" (Translation: Are you sure?) Frommer's London guidebook advised tipping cab drivers 10 - 15%, and I would have tipped 20% in America for a much less enjoyable & informative trip.
|The view (?) from our apartment.
I was fairly exhausted by the time Chad arrived at our temporary digs after work. We walked down the street to a crowded pub, The Woolpack, and had a drink in "the garden" which is local-speak for back patio. We walked up the street to a Mediterranean restaurant, Del Aziz, for a delicious dinner of Greek vegetarian food. By this time, it was approaching proper London bedtime. Chad slept like a baby for nearly twelve hours, but I awoke at local time 3:00 AM for a snack and two hours of reading before I could go back to sleep. It sounds like a humblebrag* to fuss about jet-lag, but it is a seriously sleep-depriving situation.
Tune in for more exciting London travelogue tomorrow.
*humblebrag as defined by urban dictionary: