Posts Tagged ‘London’

London (pt. 3)

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

We’re currently in the Lake District (Northwest England), in a little town called Ambleside.  We’ve been here the past 3 days and are taking off to Edinburgh in the morning.  What does that mean?  That means we’re almost 1 week into our trip, and I’m already behind on blog posting and picture uploading.  Great.

It’s already late in the evening / early morning, and I spent the last couple of hours organizing the pictures from our time in London.  What I’ve noticed: 1.) I’ve taken a lot of bad, useless pictures which I’ve now had to go through and parse and 2.) there aren’t very many personal pictures; just lots of anonymous scenery / building pictures.  For instance, on our last night in London (until we return in September to fly out to Moscow), we met up with a couple of Miriam’s old coworkers, Katie and Tom (not those Tom and Katie, i.e., TomKat) at a bar to hang-out and watch the Germany-Spain World Cup match.  We have zero pictures with either of them…but have pictures of random dusk scenes.

So of all the places we actually have friends in the locale, we don’t take any pictures with them.  Great.  Anyway, the next update will have what we did in the Lake District, but in the meantime, I’ve uploaded the pictures from our time in London.

London (pt. 2)

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Day 2 started off early. Woke up at 5:30am. Went to Starbucks at 6:30am to get coffee and use free wi-fi. Corporate goodness. Our shuttle picked us up at 7:40am to start our journey out of London and onto Windsor Castle — the largest running castle in the whole lot of Europe. And where HM the Queen enjoys to frequent when not needed at Buckingham Palace. Surprising to us, Windsor is not off by itself in some isolated countryside, but rather incorporated within a quaint little town (or rather, the quaint little town grew as a tourist offshoot). At any rate, the castle was enjoyable to visit, and extravagantly decorated. as one would expect a castle to be decorated fit for the royal family. I would imagine this is the first of many castles to be visited along our journey through Europe and Asia. I would say Africa too, but do they even have castles there? What would that amount to — three-room instead of a one-room straw hut…

If we were to visit Windsor again, I think we would be better off taking the train out there and leisurely spend the day / half-day enjoying the town. The hour and a half allotted by the tour company to view the castle didn’t leave us any time to visit any of the seemingly nice shops and restaurants in town. On to Bath.

Bath, the city of, is another quaint town you could spend a day or two visiting on your own. After touring the roman bath in Bath, there wasn’t enough time to explore the town. But that might be because we spent 35 minutes in the Apple store in Bath checking email / internet-ing. Free internet!!! Anyway, future F and M, rent a car / train, spend more time in Bath and less time in the Apple store. (unless iPhone 14 is just introduced while you’re there and you have to have to play with it)

Stonehenge is a pile of large rocks. Pictures we took were of large rocks. The large rocks are in some mysterious formation. We took pictures of that. Joking aside, I was really excited about visiting Stonehenge. That was, to me, the focal point of the day’s tour. I knew not to expect too much, afterall, when you think about it, Stonehenge really is just a bunch of stone positioned in some mysterious way. But, that, I suppose is the intrigue. Why the heck would people long ago form Stonehenge?? Was it some religious monument, sacrificial altar, timepiece? Or were a bunch kids laying around smoking pre-historic weed/opium and said, “you know what would be really funny….heh huh huh. Let’s get some stones….”

So that was our day-trip to the surrounding areas of London. Good glimpse of places to visit when we want to visit the UK in the future but not want to visit London. Long post…and boring. I promise future ones won’t be as long, but still boring.

(By the way, we haven’t had satisfying meals for the last couple of days and Miriam is getting cranky and complaining…)

London (pt. 1)

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

UPDATE: Pictures added.

This post will not currently have any pictures since I am posting via Blackberry (free wi-fi at a London public library. Yay for London-tax-paying dollars). Miriam is playing on the computer doing some silly stuff like looking for a hotel room for us to stay in tonight…psh. So pictures will come once I commandeer the computer back.

We arrived in London after a non-eventful direct flight from LAX. Upon arriving, we spent literally an hour at the foreign exchange counter figuring out what the best method of converting our hard earned dollars into lousy pounds (having two finance people working on this does not make this exercise any easier, only complicates monetary philosophies). At any rate, the summary is if you have BofA checking account, you can pull out foreign cash from certain foreign ATMs (e.g. Barclays in UK) without incurring ATM fees and get far better exchange rates than those counters. And for everything else that doesn’t require cash, use Capital One credit card, no foreign transactions fees (AMEX/Visa/MC charge ~3%) and competitive exchange rates.

So that’s how we spent our first hour in London. Fun times. (Side note: in my Mrs. Kirby fourth grade elementary school class, we were first introduced to “show-not-tell” writing. Usage of metaphors, similes, adjectives, etc., to enhance the descriptive nature of writing and make your prose more interesting. If you are in fourth grade, or reading other people’s writings to learn how to better write, stop reading this blog now! I employ the “tell-and-tell-some-more” philosophy of writing. You will gain nothing from reading my blog, except a lot of useless information.)

We spent the first day in London getting our bearings like a lion surveying the plain for potential game. We made note of several places we would frequent to satisfy our growing hunger, as we made our way to the British visitors/tourist office on Regent street. At the office we gathered local information as well as booked a tour to Windsor Castle / Bath / Stonehenge for the following day. Nothing too exciting, but at least we knew we would at least accomplish one activity on our trip. The rest of the day was spent meandering through Central London and lounging/reading/basking in the sun at St. James Park. Dinner for the evening was at Wagamama. A noodle shop recommended by one of Miriam’s friend. Wagamama has several locations throughout London (as well as other cities), and we must have gone to the wrong location as our meals weren’t that great. The place seemed to have potential, but we suspect our noodles weren’t cooked thoroughly because both of our ramens weren’t very good. The broth was also bland. Oh well, the gyoza wasn’t bad. After dinner, we walked back to our hotel and turned in at 6:30pm. Hello jet lag.