And a good evening to you from across the Pond on a GORGEOUS Sunday in the Mother Country. I mean, seriously - there might be some ash in the Stratusphere, but down at this altitude we're being treated to the MOST PERFECT 3 DAYS OF 2010. Blue skies and no planes - both VERY weird for London. And when you consider I'm writing this blog with our balcony door open and a Mountain Dew in my hand (courtesy of CP1!), life is good (despite the fact that I currently feel as though I've been shot in the face repeatedly with an Elephant gun). But we'll come to all that soon enough...
So when I last left you, we had spent the evening with Ryan and Shannon, and we were waiting for the imminent arrival of the Powell clan. They were due to arrive at 7 PM into Victoria Coach Station, and I am happy to report that they were on time. They rolled up to the flat about 8, at which point we started a WHIRLWIND of activity.
Given that it was already so late, we had a beer at the flat and then walked over to...where else - THE RAJDOOT, BABY! CP had been asking for Indian, and since he'd just presented me with a 24 ounce Mountain Dew (NECTAR OF THE GODS!!!!! Man, have I missed this stuff), I wanted to make the man happy.
The Raj was bumpin', but we got complementary pints while we waited for a table (we're talking 3 minutes wait TOPS). We then descended upon this food like it was our last meal on earth, and I am happy to report that I had my best Phall EVER. I think everyone quite enjoyed their meals, and it was a BLAST just hanging out and catching up. To be honest, it was just so surreal to have everyone there, especially in light of everything going on! Check out Ryan making friends with our boy from the restaurant.
We hung out back at home until about 2, at which point we sacked out, rising up at 9:15 Saturday morning for what could only be described as "the single most action-packed day in the history of London tourism").
We bounced out of the flat at 10:30, destination: EVERYTHING. We started on Carnaby Street, where the Fearsome Foursome were introduced to that truly British institution - Pret a Manger. A ham, cheese, and tomato roll later, we were good to go and en route to Piccadilly Circus. And so began a sight-seeing day of GALCIAN proportions.
For starters, we rolled through Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square (partially shut down due to some "Holland Party" to celebrate the tulip festival in the Netherlands - EVERYONE was dressed in Orange), and then down past 10 Downing Street and to Parliament. We had GREAT weather, and so we got some GREAT photos of Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. We even found time for the much coveted "London Phone Booth" shot (I LOVE being a tourist our own city! - so much fun).
We crossed the river at the Lambeth bridge, walking along the Southbank and taking in the spectacular view of Parliament from the other side of the Thames. Whilst walking, we snapped this CUTE photo of the girls.
We then wandered back up through Westminster and into St. James Park, where we stopped to check out the flowers and the tulips around Buckingham Palace - SO GORGEOUS! We then wandered up to Hyde Park Corner before jumping the Tube and heading over to Monument, where JT and I crossed off a monument that we hadn't yet seen - the Monument to the Great Fire of 1666 by Christopher Wren - SUCH a neat monument! I was afraid that we wouldn't be able to find it, but I'm happy to report that it is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU when you exit the station - VERY impressive.
We then wandered down to the Tower of London, stopping for some GREAT photos in front of Tower Bridge. And then one of the day's highlights - oysters and bubbly in front of the Tower Bridge! It was SO neat - we each got an oyster and a glass of prosecca, and it was just SO COOL.
After that, we walked across the Tower Bridge and then past City Hall before arriving in Borough Market, where we began a gluttonous day. I took down a Bratwurst, whilst JT followed in AC's footsteps and had the lamb/halloumi burger. We also bought some olives, caerphilly, and Ubriaco (drunk) cheese before settling down for the first of (too) many beers at the Brew Wharf.
We got lucky enough to find a table outside, and 5 minutes later we were drinking Bruges Zot on draft! We were so excited, as this was a brewery we visited in 2007 when in Bruges, and we didn't think it was ever shipped outside of Belgium. I switched to a Stout for my next pint, and we nibbled on some starters while there.
We then hopped the tube and rolled over to Leicester Square, where we walked to the Porterhouse. There, we had a pair of pints whilst watching Tottenham edge Chelsea 2-1 (Go Hot Spurs!). It was so much fun, and the crowd was GREAT. We then wandered over to the Bear and Staff, at which point I think we wandered into the "we probably shouldn't do that" category.
Whilst having Timmy Taylors, Ryan walked back to the table with 6 Jaegerbombs. We all took ours down, but I think this is the point where the wheels started to fall off. However, they REALLY fell off when we rolled into Chinatown for dinner.
So we hit Kom Tang, and we continued the boozefest with a bottle of red wine and Tiger beers. We ordered some GREAT food, but it took FOREVER to get served, and at one point the entire wait staff sat down and had their dinner whilst we were still waiting for our crispy duck! Ryan actually got up and walked over to their table (which was beside us) with his chopsticks, asking if he could try a bite of the flounder. HILARIOUS! Hitman - I think these cats are now dead to me.
After that, we rolled back home, where the partied continued until about 3 AM, including a drunk dial on Skype to the Rice household. HILARIOUS! Rice - I'm pretty sure Sam cried every time you held her up because there were 4 drunk people yelling at her. Here's hoping we didn't scar our goddaughter for life.
We went to sleep after 3 AM and rose at 10. You could tell that everyone was HURTING. JT has made a miraculous recovery, whilst I continue to struggle mightily. We walked them to the Eurostar Terminal at King's Cross, and it was CRAZY - I mean, we are talking "last helicopter out of Saigon" crazy. They have completely closed the ticket office, and people were just sitting around EVERYWHERE waiting to be helped. We got them on board, but just barely.
Today was the hottest day of the year in the UK, and we wandered over to Costa for some coffee. We sat there for about an hour, just enjoying the weather and, more importantly, enjoying not moving. In addition to feeling really rough, I've also done something to my back, and every single breath and step hurt. We'll see what that means come tomorrow when I'm on the treadmill...
After the coffee, we walked over to Baker Street, where we had two DELICIOUS pizzas at Pizza Express in the outdoor sitting area before heading home to relax. Both perfect pumpkin and I napped a bit, and it will be an EARLY night for us (and, needless to say, an AFD).
I have said this before, but I think today I have offically realized my limits. I'm not a kid anymore, and the recovery ain't as speedy as it used to be. That being said, it was an absolute, PERFECT, happy day, and I wouldn't have traded a second of it for anything.
And in case anyone's scoring, there are no flights into the UK for the next 24 hours. Best case right now is AM Tuesday - this is just INSANE.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
(A hurting) Sam and Jenny