Thursday, August 23, 2012

London Quick and Dirty - More to Come!

Seeing as a single day later, I can't even remember what I did, I decided to try something new to keep track of all my travels. The following is a bit of stream of consciousness writing covering my recent trip to London. It may seem like a bulleted list in run on sentence form, but it will help me remember what I did when I finally get the time to write it all out and give the nitty-gritty details.


Work, train issues, bus to airport issues, fast security, weird smelly guy on plane, picked up by uncle Chris, beer and quesadillas.


Up early, bus to subway (using Chris' oyster card), buy seven day transport pass, finding Victoria coach station, bad tour, wrong tour, no changing of the guards, tower of London voucher, long van ride, figure out voucher, lunch (small salad), tower of London, crown jewels, lost Riva, Oxford street shopping, new shoes, found Riva in a new outfit, park at green park station, tube back to uncle Chris', boys didn't want to see or meet us, awesome dinner (beer, wine, spaghetti with tomatoes and roasted red peppers, vegan lettuce wraps, good bread) boys even got chatty, bed, early morning. Side note: Katharina and I are very different people and we don't have the same idea of a vacation (she only wanted to sit in the park all day which I can do at home). I'm pretty sure I snapped at her a few times, in my defense it's not my fault that she kept repeating that we needed to look for our bus stop and I kept saying, "I know, 'garden center then two stops'" yet she insisted more than two times more.


Explored London (Trafalgar Square, tube, etc.), London in a day tour (really funny tour guide "Mr. Handsome", Stonehenge (1 hour, free audio guide), met some women from Cali who took my photo for me, bus to bath, went in the Abby then baths (10,70 with student discount), bought a chicken baguette, had an Italian ice, bus to Stratford through the Cotswold's, Shakespeare birthplace museum (scones and champagne), drive back to London (more commentary along the way, spoke with a man from NY and a woman from New Jersey that knew where Ambler, PA was (they were also technical writers!)), met with Katharina at Marble Arch, went to dinner at Leicester Square, movie premier for total recall, wandered china town, bought tickets for wicked on Tuesday night (so excited to wear my lime green pants!), back to Chris and Anne's, TV with uncle Chris, bed.


Woke up and read till Katharina got out of bed, breakfast, Portabello Market, Oxford street shops, parted so she could relax in a park, I went to national portrait gallery, national gallery, and St. Martins in the field church, ended up back at Leicester square, met up with Katharina again at Oxford circus at 5:30 pm, got back early and did some shopping (more just looking in some shops since everything is so expensive in London), dinner at Vipanos (salad), green park (lay down for a bit in shade), tube then bus back to Chris & Anne's, I read for a bit and hung out with the kids (Hugh was excited to share some of his Olympic stickers, issues with Ned and math (tension high), bed.


Woke up and waited on Katharina again, made plans with Chris for afternoon, went to Convent Garden (market (bought a scarf) and Food Network UK Jeremiah Weed)), walked to Helborn, went to Harrods, waited in Starbucks for a response from Chris as to their plans, decided to give up and go our separate ways (Katharina to another park and me to the British museum), I only had about an hour and a half in the museum so I used the map and found the most important items there, met back at Oxford circus (took a bus), did some shopping (forever 21), had dinner (told we couldn't eat there without buying a full meal), went to an Irish pub and ate fish and chips (Katharina had a salad), beer and cider, walked back to Piccadilly Circus station, tube back to Chris & Anne', read then sleep (argument with Katharina over keeping the window open in the day.)


London Eye to buy tickets but we couldn't request a time so we went then (Katharina's obsessed with the parks still), walked south bank, saw St. Paul's Cathedral (Katharina wanted to go but when she found out she had to pay, refused to go in), stopped at Starbucks for lunch (pastrami sandwich and a coffee), Oxford Circus (Oxford Street shops, West End shopping district) went to Photographer's Gallery (museum), went to Green Park and relaxed in the shade, wandered St. James' Park (saw squirrels and birds (same park with squirrel feeding and pigeon incident all those years ago)), took the bus to Leicester Square (long wait for the right bus to come), stopped for pizza at Pizza Hut, wandered the square and decided to see a movie (step up 4 (Katharina's choice, but still quite good)), saw a film premier procession entering another theater, people watched and I saw another "Halley", went to the film (very good, makes me miss dancing (annoying girls who talked through the film in front of us)), tube and bus home, Chris and Anne are having work done on bathroom (house in disorder), made plans for the trip back to Germany (mini cab at 3 am), made plans for the morning with Katharina, read, write, bed.


Changing of the guard (too many tourists, didn't see much), walked toward Hyde Park (saw horse guard passing), walked to Speaker's Corner (no speaker but signage about the site), bought bananas from street vendor, tube to Earls Court where I could find Landlord Ale, bought four bottles after a long search finally found I at Sainsbury's (large grocery store (bought one for me, Chris, Keegan, and his father)), home to pack but spent the time editing a paper in English for Katharina's friend, packed some, changed for the show, into the city for dinner and Wicked, stopped for drinks in a bar near the theater (cider (half pint for Katharina and full pint for me (finished mine first too!))), act one good (favorite songs sung (still not as good as in Detroit though, wording is different in some places)), second act was just as amazing (though I don't remember some of it from before), tube back to Chris and Anne's, made grilled cheese for Katharina (finished a bit after midnight), read, made and drank a HUGE cup of coffee, woke Katharina, cab was outside for us.


Cab ride to airport (mostly empty streets and highways), arrived at London Luton (way early), waited in the line to drop our bags, couldn't find gate (realized that you have to wait until the last minute for them to announce it), bought deodorant Aunt Sarah suggested, changed leftover cash back to euros, waited, flew back to Dortmund, waited for bus to the train station (ticket we had to buy on the trip there was good for the trip back too), waited for the train, train to Soest, train to Paderborn (I kid you not there was an albino Asian boy on the train, and I shamefully took a photo), bus to B.I.B.

I need some R&R (and lots of sleep but if I sleep now, then I won't make it through the night. I have writing, unpacking and repacking to do yet. This weekend I go to Göttingen to visit with Marilena. I will write all about London, in detail ASAP but bear with me, it's non-stop travel.