Yes, my trip is over. However, in the interest of staying sane, I’m going to break it up and blog it in bits. Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we?
After a lovely flight in exceedingly cramped quarters (but with massive amounts of free tv and movies), we landed in London and hopped on the tube to our first hostel, a sweet, quiet place a little bit outside of the city center. Then we promptly jumped back on the tube to go poking about.
First stop, since it was on our line, was 221B Baker Street:
London is as familiar and iconic as New York, but in a different way. I’ve never been a Dickens gal, and most London real estate I’m only familiar with through regency romances, but Holmes… Growing up, he was my buddy.
I moved straight from Encyclopedia Brown to the Red-Headed League, my nose always stuck in one of two ridiculously thick paperbacks that contained every SH story and were tattered and thrashed by the time I was 13. Young Sherlock Holmes is possibly one of my favorite movies, on a level with Princess Bride, and the new BBC series is freaking genius. This was a pilgrimage.
Unfortunately, we were a little too late for the Museum, but that’s okay. We saw the building, and knocked on the door, and poked our nose around, and stared, and sighed happily.
We continued our own little lit-pilgrimages with a stop at Platform 9 3/4 at the Kings Cross Station. Or we tried to, anyway; we ended up posing for a confused looking photo somewhere between 9 and 10. Apparently we are too mugglish to find the right platform.
From there, we wandered toward the old town, and circled around the Tower and the Tower Bridge. It was a gorgeous night, and we were giddy just from being in London on a Saturday Night.
Exhausted, we stumbled back for G and my first night in a European nation. The beds are much the same, but it still felt fabulously different.
The next day we realized that our hostel was full of men in kilts. Many of them cuties. Maybe that just happens in the UK, we thought. Then we headed back into the heart of the city, and realized there were many, many more men in kilts. Our first stop, Trafalgar Square, had been filled with anarchists and protesters the day before during a massive march, but today it was full of a thousand or more Scottish sport fans singing and chanting (and drinking).
We rounded out the day with visits to the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin in the Field, Buckingham Palace (did you know the Guard has a marching band? That furry hat plus a tuba is truly ridiculous), the Mall, Covent Garden, Piccadilly, Fleet Street, Westminster Abbey, the West End, the East End in search of curry, and maybe some more places that I’m forgetting due to the overwhelming awesomeness of the day.
But you know what? It’s not my town. Not even close. Maybe, when I was 19 or 20, I would have loved living there for a while. I’m not sure even then if I was pretty and stylish enough. Maybe we were just sticking to the trendy areas, but it sure seems like everyone in London is young, well-dressed, and gorgeous. I clunked around and snapped some pics, but I don’t think I could feel comfortable there for more than a few days.
You should go to London during the winter. All the young, well-dressed, gorgeous people disappear, apparently. I sure as heck didn’t see any when I was there in November.