Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 1 London

March 27, 2010  Saturday
After a 10-hour flight from New York, Beau and I arrived at Heathrow airport in London at 8:30 a.m. We quickly discovered that our Euros (exchanged at NY) was useless since London (UK) still uses pounds. Also, my only credit card was not allowing usage internationally. What a nice way to start our trip. After checking out the fare costs, we bought a full-day pass for the Tube lines(7.50 pounds/per person). By the time we arrived at Russell Square, it was almost noon. Bloomsbury is an adorable neighborhood. The signs and clean streets made it easy to navigate our way to the hotel. The first thing I saw was this double-decker bus. :)
We could not check in until 2 p.m. so we stored our luggage and walked to the British Museum. It was a cool mid-50 degrees, grey skies with light rain.
British Museum — one of the great things about London are their free museums. Saw a Michael Jackson impersonator, plenty of Buddhas and male greek statues without penises, except for Satyr. 
It was still too early to check-in, so I found a place to exchange some of our Euros to pounds. 100 Euros for 86.30 pounds. There was an old-fashioned pub, The Swan, by our hotel. I thought they were ignoring us until we figured out that we had to seat ourselves and order at the bar.
This is a pint. If I finished it all, I would need a nap … call me, half pint. After our late lunch, we checked in and Beau took a nap until 5 p.m. — there is a 6-hour time difference … we were so tired! 
Bloomsbury Park Hotel by a Starbucks (they are everywhere here and I didn’t go inside one!)
6 p.m. We took the Tube to Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. This area reminds me of NYC, with all the theaters, restaurants and stores —but cleaner. 
We walked everywhere, through Chinatown and a few stores. Found a small Italian eatery: Biagio Trattoria Italiana. I had the most delicious, buttery Spaghetti Carbonara, and bread with fresh olives. 
We took the Tube back to the hotel… Rob spotting, he’s everywhere! Every time the British voice in the Tube would announce, “Going to Cockfosters,” we would giggle.
9:30 p.m. We ended our evening with the best Hazelnut Latte, shortbread cookies and caramel shortbread from Costa Coffee, next to Starbucks by our hotel. Served by the nicest barista, who informed me about their free wifi (with purchase). Score! 
Photos: Beau and Ren Reiske © All Rights Reserved.

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