UK Trip, September 2003 – day 1

Duncan at Tower BridgeGot into London yesterday about 10:30 am after a pretty brutal trip. Dropped off my luggage and went into the city via the tube. Things still coming back up to speed after the power blackout yesterday, I think; the train was packed. Got off at Picadilly Circus and walked down Regent St., some lunch at Marios Cafe (₤10), not bad. Turned right on Pall Mall and walked down the other Mall and past Buckingham Palace. Hordes of tourists, but everything is beautiful. One poor copper at the open gate, you have to wonder how many photos he ends up in every day. Turned left around the park towards the river. Walked through horse gate, and then down past Westminster Cathedral and the houses of parliament. Weather was great, a bit cool but mostly sunny. Crossed over the river and walked along the embankment, past the big ferris wheel thing, Saatchi and Tate galleries, and a cool under-bridge book market with some beautiful old maps.

Tower of LondonWent over to have a quick look at St. Pauls, currently being restored so where it’s not filthy it’s covered in scaffolding. Should be nice when it’s done. Someone was getting married there as I arrived. Some beautiful llittle streets nearby, a lovely old building with distinctive writing on the outside was actually a hostel, very nice looking! Had a Kronebourg in what looked like a pretty authentic pub the “Rising Sun”. Finished up at the tower of London, ₤13.50 to get in but worth every penny. Very cool.

Got back to the airport a bit late, more than an hour on the tube again, Dad was already there. He was in pretty good shape, came over first class so had some nice food and comfortable seat and everything. 8h stop in Bangkok but they put him up in a hotel, so that was nice. We went and picked up the car, a Toyota of some description and headed up the M25 to a service area near Toddington. Travelodge is basic but comfortable. Dinner at the “Little Chef” (always present with Travelodges!) not too bad.

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