There was certainly a stretch of time during which I felt like we would just never get here. It started after our first flight to SFO was delayed beyond repair and continued through the next day when our new first flight to LAX became questionably delayed. We considered abandoning our local airport and renting a car to LAX, but luckily such action was unnecessary. Fast-forward a day and we are finally taking the underground into London to find our (adorable) hotel right next to King’s Cross Station, arriving at 2pm. That gave us 7 hours of sunlight to explore London and still make it into bed in time to take an early morning train to Cambridge. This is what we did:
1. Dropped off our bags in the weirdest underground hotel room I’ve ever seen. The only natural light was from a skylight directly over the bed. Great for listening to the rain at 5am. Less great for falling back to sleep after the sun comes up at, you guessed it, 5am. Again I came prepared with an eye mask and have used it every morning starting at 5am since.
2. Quickly looked through the suggestions for what to do in London given to me by a friend. I love to take the free city maps and write on them with a couple places to eat and to draw out a route to walk. It keeps things simple to know where you’re going, while still giving you the freedom to change your mind half-way through.
3. Started walking towards Covent Garden, stopping by Balthezar Bakery on the way via Drury Lane (a hat-tip to our friend Byron). I was instructed to get Cream Tea, which is tea served with scones, jam, and clotted cream. It’s taken all my self-control not to have Cream Tea every day. Soooo goood!!!
4. We headed towards Trafalgar Square, then towards Big Ben and the House of Parliament, passing by Westminster Abbey (to go inside would have been nearly 20 pounds each! WTF!?!) and ending up outside Buckingham Palace. As though it sensed our drooping spirits, the palace proceeded to emit fancily dressed people, with all the ladies wearing hats or fascinators. I like to imagine that they were all having tea with the Queen, but they were probably just taking a tour.
5. We took the long way home, walking around the edge of Green Park and Hyde Park to reach Baker Street. You can probably imagine where I’m going with this. 221 B Baker Street does exist, but it comes after 231 and is a Sherlock Holmes museum and gift shop and was, very unfortunately, closed. At least I wasn’t the only person taking pictures of the establishment.
6. For dinner we went to Union Tavern on King’s Cross Rd. Peter had (boar) bangers and mash and I had one of the most perfectly cooked steaks of my life. If only we had saved room for dessert! I had a half-pint of cider and Peter had a couple pints of beer. Not a bad way to end a VERY long day.