Six years ago today we spent our first ever day and night in London after getting married the day before. That four hour train ride sounds like it would be a long ride but it passed really quickly. As I have this week, here’s my (then fresh) recount of the happenings from six years ago.
In London, the train came into King’s Cross Station and yes, we found the 9 ¾ gate with the cart half in and half out of the wall a la Harry Potter. Had to call the car hire to pick us up since they didn’t know where we were coming in to. They picked us up right away and then took us on to our hotel, the Bloomsbury Hotel. It was ranked #5 on TripAdvisor and we can see why. It was probably one of the nicest, fanciest hotels in which I’ve ever stayed. This, of course, doesn’t count Walt Disney World as those are themed. A close second would be the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. This hotel is the first one that I’ve ever gotten a tour of my room. After a free glass each of champagne (to celebrate the day before) we were given our room and the bellman brought up the bags. He then showed us how everything works and how to operate all the gadgets in the room. We have adapters for our electronics and such but they had one already for US standard 110 AC as well as a couple of the European Union and UK standards; they had it covered. The only thing we never figured out, to 100% efficiency, was how to use the shower. It took me no less than 4-6 minutes a day to get it to the right temperature. The BCPF, who loves her shower water much hotter than I (I like it just over warm), had to deal with extra hot water. I, again, after wasted time, could get it to her level for myself. Ouch! But, it wasn’t so bad. There’s a European trend that I can’t figure out. The showers are all half shower doors (only going from the front to about halfway back), swing out and are very high tubs. I, and I’m fairly tall, have to hold on to the handles provided and step up and into the shower. Imagine the 4’11” BCPF trying. It’s rather comical.
The Bloomsbury was centrally located close to the Tottenham Court Road train station. The London Underground is an elaborate network of subway tunnels that lead all over the city. After about 3 minutes of mapping (we had experience with Paris last year), we were able to traverse the entire city of London (which has a population of just over 8 million people). We bought Oyster cards (re-loadable passes) and took the Underground everywhere.
One of the first places was Jack Horner’s. Jack Horner’s is owned by Fuller’s Brewing (think London Porter, London Pride, ESP, etc.) and we just needed a little snack so we had a couple of orders of fish fingers which are basically fish sticks. They were good and having a real ESB, right there in London, was fantastic. The BCPF had a half pour of the London Porter. Then we just walked about stopping in shops, and made our way around to the Houses of Parliament and “Big Ben.” By now, everyone knows that Big Ben is actually the largest bell, not the tower itself. The tower is the Queen Elizabeth II Bell Tower. We were there right at 6pm so we got to hear the Westminster Chimes.
We wandered until it was time for dinner. We ate that night at a modern London restaurant called Scoff & Banter. The idea is to have a bit of wit to their food offerings. I’ll say there wasn’t much scoff or banter happening. The food was good, but nothing spectacular. The BCPF had salmon that was on top of tomatoes, but she wasn’t feeling well, but felt better later that evening. I had the rib eye, rare, and it was alright, but again, nothing spectacular. The overall assessment of the restaurant was they tried way too hard. We were mere steps from the hotel so we went back and spent our first night in the luxurious plushness that was the Bloomsbury.
We loved our time in London, even though the Scots couldn’t figure why we’d want to be there. Using my 23 & Me DNA tracing, most of my DNA ancestry comes from this area and The BCPF’s is starting to show more from there as well. London is one of the largest cities in the world and we loved it there. Well, that’s good for now, I think.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.” -Samuel Johnson