Thursday, January 14, 2010
Thursday, January 14/10 in London
This hotel was jammed with people overnight – they were stuck because it snowed hard outside the city and Heathrow was cancelling overseas flights. When we came down this morning to have breakfast and send the posts from the lobby – the place was hopping! No snow today, but it was raining – never mind. It looks like things have cleared up out at Heathrow this afternoon.
As you could see, I did get those two posts done this morning plus cleared up some emails. We had breakfast – the continental kind with no protein is included with the room – I had protein, feeling I needed my strength!
We got the red double-decker again and struck up a “conversation” with a Portuguese-speaking family from Brazil who were visiting London for the first time. What a great group! They wanted to go to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. I said I wasn’t sure if it happened when it was raining but that didn’t matter – off they went at the right stop. We continued on to Harrods.
An amazing place! It’s beautiful outside and inside it is spectacular. Expensive as all get out – I expected that. I did buy some souvenirs. Bill saw the Beretta guns and said he didn’t think he’d buy a new over and under shotgun for £7,000 “and change”. We looked at the bulletproof garb as well – one nice black, very soft on the outside, leather jacket with (probably Kevlar) bulletproof lining for £5,000. It weighed a ton but you would be very stylish as the bullets were whipping around your head! We had lunch at Ca’puccino’s which was lovely – excellent sandwich with salad. We went to the pet section thinking we might buy Sally a collar or something. Holy cow, £50 was the cheapest! And the variety was astounding – with jewels (real!), top leathers, up to £200 at least. Bill says he thinks some of the collars were more than the cost of a registered purebred dog.
Some quick observations – there were some very wealthy looking young people in there looking some very expensive items. The main central escalator is exquisite – Art Deco/Art Nouveau (I can’t really remember which is which) with an Egyptian theme – this is my favourite style. People were very, very friendly and courteous. I’m big on asking questions and asking for directions and everyone has been just wonderful – most polite and very helpful. The streets are very clean and I haven’t seen one panhandler. We saw someone walked a positive herd of Labs being walked – I’m sure I counted 5, one yellow and four black. The buildings are just beautiful. There are all kinds of round blue plaques on buildings which note some artist/writer/poet/composer/actor/thinker lived there. Over the centuries, London has been a hub for great thinkers and artists – that was wonderful to see.
I ran out of steam and came back to the hotel for a zzzz and Bill headed out to get info on our train ride tomorrow. The Eurostar is back on schedule, we can take a taxi from here and it’s not far, and we go through customs on this side. On the way back, we’re going to take the underground to Heathrow and a shuttle bus to our hotel – Sofitel - which is very close by.
One thing I meant to mention yesterday was, we went past Victoria Station which is where Mom, Rob, Louise, Don and I went to from Chester in 1953 on our way to Luxembourg. Dad was already over there and had found us a place to live in Echternach. We stayed overnight at the hotel next door (maybe the Victoria Hotel?) and caught the boat train to Dover (?) and went on the ferry to Oostende where we had to wait quite a long time before the train took us to Luxembourg City. Mom must have been exhausted! It was fun to see that. I doubt my brothers and sister remember that trip but…
So we’re going to try to make an early night of it tonight so we’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning for the Chunnel trip. To wind up our stay here, we’re going to a pub just down the road from this hotel – just to say we did it. I may even have a beer! While this has been much too short a time in a magnificent city – it has been terrific and I’m so glad we did this.