Saturday, October 9, 2010

London: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010

For our second day in London we slept in a bit and casually got ready. Today was the day for the traditional English breakfast that consisted of scrambled eggs, toast, baked beans, bacon (which was really more of a slice of ham that had been fried, English sausage, a whole, unsliced, roasted tomato, and a hot beverage...usually coffee, but Kevin opted for hot chocolate. I don't do hot chocolate in the morning, unless I am camping, and so I chose water.
The eggs were divine.

The sausage was not like any sausage I have ever tasted. Normally I really enjoy sausage.But, I took one bite and that was all for me. Blech!

And it weirded me out that there was a WHOLE tomato, roasted mind you, on my breakfast plate. It seemed a bit out of place. I had a bite, but it didn't jive with my whole morning mood, so I left it along with the sausage.

The baked beans also felt a bit unusual for breakfast, but I didn't seem to mind.

Afterward we headed to Piccadilly Circus for some shopping.


Piccadilly Circus has a very Time Square feeling to it. Or how I picture Time Square to feel seeing as I have never been there. Big Electronic billboards covering the surface of entire buildings. Throngs of tourists with their heads turned upward toward the sites more than in the direction they are walking. Lots of noise and just a general feeling of life.

Loved the red phone booths!

Right across from the exit of the Tube was "The Biggest Sports Store in the World", or so they claimed. I would really have to agree with them. There were seven floors, SEVEN! It covered every sport you can even possibly imagine...and then throw in all the ones the Brits play---oh and subtract American football. Kevin was loving it.

After spending quite a bit of time in that store we headed out to the other shops. Now, I'm not sure if it was just the street we were on, but more of the stores were geared toward men then women. It was unusual. I think I only saw one clothing store, out of 10 that had women's clothing in it. Weird. We did find a huge department store, not Harrods, but something that sells chocolate and coffee as well as dedicating a whole floor to Christmas decor. Hooray!

Really, the shopping was just to help Kevin us bide some time until the main event, the long awaited for, soccer game. We still had a bit of time until we needed to head to the Underground and get on our way. Kevin planned on us arriving to the stadium at least and hour before the game started in order to be able to look around the grounds and the gift shop.

We decided to swing back to the Big sports store, pick up a cricket set and then return it to our hotel before heading toward the soccer game. Luckily that put us right on schedule to enter the Underground and get there at the decided hour......

riding the Underground  

.....Or it would have.

It seems the Underground likes to do much of it maintenance on the weekends, to avoid disturbing anyone's work commute, making every line that would get us anywhere near the stadium out of order. After frantically switching lines thinking we'd finally found the perfect, alternate route only to be told that too was under construction, we decided to take a cab adding 45 mins to what would have been a 20 min trip.

Consequently we sat down in our seat at the 34 minute mark!

When we first got to the stadium. I am trying to "capture" the moment...Kevin just wants to get in already.

This is the picture I got as we were racing into the stadium and saying," Just turn around really quick...I just want one picture"

Poor Kevin! The one thing he had really been looking forward to for almost a year (other than a week alone with me, of course) was the game. He'd plan the whole day around it and then we spent nearly 2 hours just trying to get to it, only to arrive late and miss a goal.

Thankfully, Kevin was able to just be grateful he was there at all and not dwell on the misadventure of our arrival. The rest of soccer game was really fun. It was West Ham United vs. Chelsea.

Didier Drogba taking a corner kick
I think it's awesome that the two opposing sides have to be separated by a barrier.

Our seats were fantastic. We could see every play really well. It was a pretty exciting game and we are both thrilled to have had the experience.

Getting home after the game proved to be just as challenging as getting there seeing as all the Tube lines closest to us were still non-functional. They did have buses transporting  people from the stadium to the nearest station. It was a nice thought, but the line to get on the bus was gigantic and the people crammed into the buses, that just sped past the enormous lines because they were so full, were literally hanging out of the door ways because there was no room for them to fit ALL of their body inside the confines of the bus. 


We decided it really couldn't be that far to the next station and it would probably take just as much time to walk there as it would to wait until there was an inch of space on a bus. So walk it was. 

It was a really pleasant walk. It was almost dinner time so we took advantage of our walk and tried to scout out an authentic Fish and Chips meal. The problem came as we realized we were walking in the middle of a residential area. We didn't really know where the next station was and were relying heavily on following the crowd from the stadium, who also did not feel like being sardines that evening, to guide us therefor we were unable to leave the residential area to seek our meal.

45 mins. and 2.3 miles later we arrived at the nearest operating underground station. Starving!

A few pictures of the police officers (Bobbies) hats to show the kids.

But we couldn't eat just anywhere. Today was a fish and chips kind of a day and we were determined. We consulted our travel book and found that a very well reviewed restaurant was only about 10 mins away by tube. Plus it was near a highly rated toy store and Beckham had requested that his birthday present come from Europe this year. 

The toy store was a bit out of the way and definitely in a rougher part of London. Weird right? The sad news? It was closed when we got there. Bummer. 

When we finally got to the restaurant, 3 hours after leaving the stadium, in a cute, tucked away hotel in Notting Hill, we were asked if we had a reservation. 

Apparently, movie stars occasionally dine there, when they are in town, of course. I can't remember the name of it right now. Something that starts with a G.  I just about cried. I was SO hungry. Thankfully, they were slow that night and let our touristy looking selves in. 

The food?

So, so. 

Wasn't worth the price. 

We. were. exhausted. when we got home. 

I believe we tried to call the kids that night as well, but didn't tell anyone what time we were going to Skype. 

After a few tries, we headed into the hotel and fell asleep.


Chrissy said...

I love the pictures of Kevin heading into the stadium. I think you totally "captured" that moment. :) This is fun to be able to follow along on your adventure. (Esp. as this is probably as close to Europe as I am getting in the next oh... 20 years or so.)

Tobi said...

After reading that I am tired and in need to some fish and chips. Can't wait to hear what happens next!