And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Sunny skies and warmer weather is still here, and that translates to more smiles for this guy!
Okay, so first and foremost, I simply must ask this question - who on earth is Tom/Mike? I mean, when I saw the picture of Tom (as in Tom & Jerry), I just assumed that Price had a wild hair (no pun intended) after a particularly religious leg shaving session, but today I saw Mike Ditka in its place. Come forth silent rogue, and claim thy prize.
Also, my fun story for today. So I wake up and am getting ready to leave the flat when the fire alarm goes off. Because they've been obsessed with flame containment since the Great Fire of 1666, the fire door closed and wouldn't let me to the elevator (which was a good thing) or the stairwell beyond it. That meant that I had to take the other stairwell, which I know only as "the place I leave any excess trash that our cleaning lady doesn't collect." Well, I go down 4 flights of stairs and suddenly realize that there is NO WAY OUT EXCEPT FURTHER DOWN BELOW THE BASEMENT. Thinking either a) I'm about to be an extra in a weird remake of "The Road," b) this was a deleted scene from "Hostel, or c) this is the stairway to hell, I notice a door with a keypad to my left. I push, and sure enough it opens.
Voila - I have magically (and inadvertently) entered the Office of the Royal Architects of London, and NO ONE NOTICES ME. So I tap a bloke on the shoulder and ask him where the exit is, only to get the (fairly appropriate) question: "How the bloody hell did you get in here?"
I politely explained to him that I a) lived above and b) walked through his highly secure keypad protected door, at which point he chuckled and said, "Yes, we should probably lock that." Good times.
Okay, next up - as promised, it's time to catch you guys up on the weekend. And so I present round 2 of the weekend in review - this time covering Saturday and Sunday.
So Jenny and I got in bed at a reasonable hour on Friday night, and I set my alarm for 8:45 AM on Saturday morning. Good thing, because at 8:47, our doorbell rang. The Warfs were here!!! Despite having only slept about 45 minutes, they were in good spirits and rarin' for a wander around the city. And so, after a cup of coffee and some showers, we were out the door.
We started the tour in Regent's Park, which is GORGEOUS now that things are starting to bloom. The Queen's Rose Garden is just leaves at the moment, but the tulips were out in full force, and it was JUST FANTASTIC.
We wandered around the park for about an hour before I took us on a wrong turn, resulting in us wandering around St. John's Wood and Maida Vale (yeah...OOPS). But hey, at least this way we saw Lord's Cricket Ground!
We wandered down Edgeware road for a bit before finally finding the tube, which we then hopped down to Gloucester Road. Once there, it was time to wet our whistles with some brewski and enjoy what was a GLORIOUS DAY (as evidenced by the photos).
We then hopped back on the Tube and made our way down to Parliament, where we did a very similar tour to last weekend, including hitting up our (now favorite) phone booth! I'm pretty sure it's the secret gateway to the Men in Black HQ, but so far I've been unable to crack the code.
After Parliament, we wandered up to Trafalgar Square, where a St. George's Day celebration was in full swing (Batten was pissed because she didn't see a dragon anywhere). We spent about 11 and a half seconds in the square before realizing that we did NOT enjoy St. George's Day celebrations, and 5 minutes later we were up at the Bear and Staff, sipping on some fine cask ales (I'm sure you can guess which one - actually, Muffin Puffin went rogue and got the "Dutch Wink," but I held fast to my beliefs). Notice that we made a friend whilst there...SO photogenic.
After that, we took the Tube to St. Christopher's Place, where we were treated to a DELICIOUS meal at a local Italian joint. And best of all, our guests picked up the check - THANKS, GUYS!
We passed out early that night, but I had to stay up and watch the ending of Borat (again). I'm happy to report that it ended the same way, which was niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. High Five!
Sunday we got up around 10 and were out the door around 11:30. First stop - the Prince Regent. There we absolutely DEVOURED our full English breakfasts, and I made out like a BANDIT because no one wanted their Black Pudding. Check out the Tower of Power (and King Bean)!
After that, we wandered down to Piccadilly Circus, where we caught the Piccadilly Line to Hyde Park corner. Once there, we walked down past the monuments and into Green Park before arriving at Buckingham Palace. Why was this special for me as well? BECAUSE SUNDAY WAS THE LONDON MARATHON, BABY!!!
So, oddly enough, this is the FOURTH CONSECUTIVE London Marathon I've seen, and it is ALWAYS a GREAT day out. The runners finish at the Palace (actually on the mall), and we saw the folks who were just under 4 hours rolling in. We then wandered down to Monument, where we caught some more of the race (about mile 24 - folks were DEFINITELY laboring) before walking over to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. We then watched a little more of the race before turning for what I assured Martin and Sara was a "short walk" to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.
As fate would have it, it wasn't so short, but we did get into St. Pauls for free! Counter-balancing that coolness was the fact that we did NOT get into Cheshire Cheese, as apparently they close at 4 PM on Sundays (WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?). However, we were able to squeeze in an "emergency beer" at the Tipperary, just across the street.
From there, we wandered past Somerset House and checked out the courtyard before popping in for another pint at the Coal Hole (Yes, KJ, I am afraid that you still "gotta pay the toll troll, to get into the Coal Hole") - Timmy T, of course.
We then walked through the Victoria Embankment Gardens, where we were treated to a BEAUTIFUL display of flowers. We then hopped the tube and made about 14,679 changes before FINALLY arriving at Limehouse out in the Docklands.
Once there, we grabbed a last pint at the Narrow (no, NOT the ghetto from "Batman Begins" - this is Gordon Ramsay's British Gastropub). I have heard that the food here leaves much to be desired, but the beer selection and the view of the Docklands is EXTRA AWESOME. And so we had pints of Leffe and contemplated the meaning of life.
Dinner that evening was La Figa, where I returned to the old staple of Mushroom Ravioli, the leftovers of which we finished last night. It was a GREAT meal, and it capped off two GREAT days with GREAT friends in the UK.
We sacked out around 11, and we got up early on Monday to say bye before we rolled to work and they rolled to Ireland. Here's hoping they are having a great time!
Guys - we had SO MUCH FUN with you here. Thanks so much for coming. Can't wait to see you again soon!!!
On the "today front," I was back in the gym, pumping iron and giving British bankers everywhere a preview of who the next "Nature Boy" will be. Good times.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny