March 2008 Archives

Visit to London

After squashing everything into my suitcase last night, I left just after 9am for the train to Edinburgh, which was about 5 minutes late... arriving at Waverley on time I was soon on the four-and-a-half-hour journey to King's Cross - arriving just before 3pm where I then got on the Piccadilly line tube (full but not too busy) and walked to the hotel.

Once I had checked in, I met up with Peter, Thomas, Gavin, Jeff, Joe and Colin at The Courtfield around 4:30pm where they had been since late morning. After a shift change and early in the evening the bar manager came over and actually complained that we weren't buying enough drinks! Dinner at ASK was booked for 8:30pm but we got fed up waiting and went there early just before 7pm. They were able to seat us fairly quickly and Pierre arrived after 8pm.

After the meal (Gamberi al Forno (marinated prawns), Lasagne Verdi, and Honeycomb Cheesecake), we all went home around 9pm because several of our group hadn't slept for quite a long time. The hotel's wireless internet access isn't free - something which is not mentioned on their website. It also appears to be 802.11g only, so my old 802.11b adapter was useless. I could have borrowed an adapter but they had none left. The walls don't block out much of the sound from people moving around and talking in the hotel so I got off to sleep around 1am.

London Tourism

We had a booking at the London Eye for 10am so everyone had to get up early to meet at Earl's Court for 8:15am (at Gavin's suggestion, which turned out to be far too early... and he wasn't even going with us). The hotel charges an extortionate £9.95 for an English breakfast (self-serve). Arriving at Westminster Bridge around 8:45am - the weather was awful, overcast sky and constant rain showers - we waited around for the ticket office to open.

The weather started to improve from 9am onwards and we soon had clear skies and sunshine - which lasted all day! Just before 10am we got on the second London Eye capsule of the day and had the whole capsule to ourselves. We then walked around London visiting St. James's Park, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, and stumbled across the changing of the guard around 11am - and then again at Buckingham Palace, without even trying. Lunch was at The Shipwrights Arms (Scampi & Chips).

Some of us visited the Tower of London (the rest didn't want to pay to get in) for an hour, and then we went to the Apple store in Regent Street via Bank - which has far too many tube lines and stairs, we must have walked at least a mile. After that we split up (going back to the hotel to rest) until 6pm when we went to Preem for dinner, an Indian restaurant in Brick Lane where Andrew and Marek joined us for a bit - the food was great and very good value. We then wandered around London for the rest of the night on and off the tube trying to find a bar that was still open.

Monopoly Pub Crawl

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Everyone else except me planned to visit 26 pubs around London - the Monopoly Pub Crawl, but I went to meet some other people instead. I woke up at 7:30am thinking I'd slept in and then again at 9am... which appears to be too late to get hot water for the shower - so I had a cold shower and later complained and got a free breakfast. I passed Thomas at Earl's Court just after 10am - he was waiting for everyone else but they hadn't shown up yet. Peter and Alex missed the group completely somehow and didn't turn up until later in the day.

I went the wrong way on the District line (there are too many branches of this all sharing the same name) and then took the Circle line to Tower Hill/Tower Gateway and went on the DLR to Canary Wharf where Tom managed to find me. We visited the Redbus and Telehouse datacentres and then went to a Pizza Hut. I was hoping we could meet with some other people for dinner, probably at the Lotus but they weren't in London that weekend.

Instead we joined the pub crawl in the afternoon at King's Cross, after contacting Peter to help him find the rest of the group. Colin left for his hotel as soon as I arrived, and both Gavin and Tom left soon after. Almost every pub was quite crowded with people watching sports on TV. Thomas kept leading us around in circles despite having directions between every pub...

Eventually we had dinner at a Japenese restaurant called Wagamama. I'm not that interested in eating noodles but I had some salmon ramen which was floating... eating it with chopsticks wasn't too hard although I cheated by not splitting the two sticks up (they were joined at one end). I had a combination of mango and lychee with lime zest sorbet for dessert which was very nice.

Afterwards we went to next pub on the list - The Comedy - and waited for Alex (who was going around London on his own without a phone...), Andrew and Marek to show up. We quickly gave up on continuing the rest of the pub crawl and ended up at a pub right next to Leicester Square tube station. Here, Thomas managed to smash two glasses and lost his wallet (but not his iPhone). Andrew and Marek left some time after 10pm and then myself, Alex, Peter and Joe left shortly after 11pm leaving Jeff, Pierre, Thomas and Svend behind to stay out until early morning.

London Tourism & Tiroler Hut Restaurant

I woke up fairly early and had the usual breakfast, then went down to Peter and Alex's room around 11am then joined them for a visit to the British Musem. Thomas had went home the previous night to sort out his lost wallet. Pierre joined Peter and I in visiting the Imperial War Museum in the afternoon followed by a visit to Speakers' Corner for a while.

The weather today wasn't great but mostly it only rained while we were indoors. Peter left then Jeff, Colin and Joe joined us and we then headed off to Harrods for a short visit (it closed 10 minutes after we arrived at 6pm). Then we headed off towards tonight's restaurant booking but the tube was extremely busy and we had to take a bus instead.

We arrived at the Tiroler Hut Restaurant for 7pm and met up with Gavin and Peter again along with Andrew and Marek. Eventually we gave up waiting for Alex to arrive and sat down to order dinner by 8pm. I had the steak with mashed and sautéed potatoes, which was ok but not great. The atmosphere of the place more than makes up for any shortcomings of the food. Alex managed to find us eventually with the help of Thomas.

There was a guy in a box playing music and singing, and the owner played the clarinet, saxophone and accordian for us. We then had a performance from a yodelling goat and very impressive playing of cowbell music. For dessert I had sorbet again, while enjoying some music that most people knew and were singing along to. A good time was definitely had by all and it's unfortunate that Thomas wasn't able to be with us.

Back home to Fife

I got up at 7:30am and managed to repack my suitcase and check out in time to reach Earl's Court for 9am. The King's Cross St. Pancras tube station was announced as closed due to overcrowing - fortunately it opened up again quickly and I managed to get on the third Piccadilly line train (the first two were too crowded and I couldn't get on while holding a suitcase). I reached the train to Waverley 15 minutes before it was due to leave and finished reading the book I brought and read on the way down.

Eventually it arrived at Edinburgh early in plenty of time to catch the train to Dalgety Bay where I arrived just after 3pm. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain and there was no 1524 bus on the route I needed, so I had to wait at the stop for 45 minutes or get myself and the suitcase soaking wet trying to walk home. I got back just after 4pm and started waiting for ASDA to deliver food.

Photos

I have finally finished uploading to Flickr around 450 of the 750+ photos I took while in London. They're organised into sets by day with subsets of those for particular places. These are then all part of the March 2008: London collection.

Using an Oyster card worked out cheaper than an equivalent 3-day travelcard.

Very Windy

It's very windy here today... 30mph+ from the east:
100_5389

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

September 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Content authored by myself is just my honest opinion. If you find any words or pictures menacing or offensive, stop reading now.

Jabber

simon@arlott.org.uk
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