Husband spent all weekend sailing (with EAST), so I betook myself to London on the train for a Grand Day Out. I booked my ticked last Wednesday, so it turned out that the cheapest advance single to go in was actually first class (first was £22, standard was £24). First class was great - so quiet and chill, with HUGE seats. Definitely worth the advance commitment.
When I got to London, I had intended to take the Circle Line around to Embankment for my London Walk. However, TFL had other plans. Circle Line, closed all day. Lovely. So I set off to find a Boris Bike station, you know, just to check things out.
For the grand price of £1 for the day's access and £1 every time I went over 30 mins on one particular bike (I think I spent a total of £2), it was excellent. Bike lanes everywhere, lots of cyclists, very courteous cars (it was a Saturday), and the wind in my hair. WHEEE! This was my lovely little bike, right after I parked her at Embankment station. Thanks, Boris!
Because of all my exercising, I was thirsty when I got to Embankment. So I went into Starbucks and ordered an iced passion tea. Apparently this is now an off-menu item - they use the passion tea blend for making mango-passion smoothies but aren't really supposed to feed it to the punters. Nevermind...it was delicious.
And I drank it, sitting in the park on these chairs, arranged neatly.
And then I met a real live witch (I met a few at Colby, so it wasn't all that scary), who took us on a walking tour.
Past Cleopatra's Needle. Thank you, British explorers, for bringing all SORTS of random crap back from far corners of the world. I mean, really. A postcard is cool. Maybe a magnet. A 60-foot obelisk kind of takes up a lot of room in your suitcase. But, whatev.
Found a room that if I owned I would probably never leave (top floor, please):
And then had very yummy beef udon at Misato. Not as good as the one I had in Cambridge back in March, but not bad at all. Oh, and when we took James to Cambridge last weekend to introduce him into the cult of the Brisket Udon, they told us that the half-empty restaurant had "no room." SO disappointed, especially since the vegetarian place we went to afterwards was resoundingly and virtuously healthy-tasting (read, not doing THAT again...) and all the more disappointing when contrasted with the imagined Udon.
After my noodles, I braved the rain, went to Liberty (sigh), noodled around Oxford circus, grabbed another Boris Bike, got REALLY lost in Finsbury, found my way again (thank you helpful cyclists in London taking pity on what they thought was a very lost American tourist), dropped off my Boris Bike, bought some very excellent VivoBarefoot shoes (on sale for £28!), and subsided onto my (pre-booked) train home.
Things I learned:
-once you leave the protection of a witch, it's going to start raining
-if you leave your brolly at home, it will rain in London. <-I should really know this by now
-taking a Boris Bike around the roundabout at Trafalgar Square is probably not a good idea
-the Boris Bikes need a real HEAVE to get them out of their docks
-booking National Express train tickets in advance is much cheaper than getting them on the day
-biking is very good exercise
-getting lost makes you bike further, which is also good exercise
And there you have it.