We embarked for London with only some US dollars, our credit card, and an ATM card in our wallet for money. Once we got there we bought a pass for the tube with our credit card and after alighting at the station nearest out hotel stopped at an ATM along the way for our first handful of pound sterling. I called our bank and credit card companies to let them know we'd be in England (so they'd hopefully not auto-deny all of our purchases) and it ended up working great.
One pound sterling is worth nearly two USD currently (plus London is a pretty expensive city anyway) so everything was just really expensive.
There are pubs everywhere. And said pubs all have an extended sill along their outside windows for the purpose of standing around outside while you suck down a few pints. It was awesome. But thanks to the food poisoning I didn't feel much like having a pint from Tuesday on. Oh well. Also I never did find a place that served "Old Speckled Hen" on tap. We even made it to a pub that our guide book specifically mentioned as having that but the bartender said it wasn't on that day. I was expecting room temp beer everywhere (which would have been fine with me I think) but most every place had most of their kegs cold (Guinness, Fosters, Strongbow, etc) and 4 or 5 kegs with fancier pulls kept at a cool temp. At least that seemed to be the system to me. We'd end up hitting one (maybe two) pubs a day and I'd have a pint or a half pint.
Spamalot is awesome.
Definitely got a taste of the British wit all over the city. At one pub a gentleman's seat gave way and he crashed to the ground -- we were sitting outside. It was a little scary in the moment, but later he and his friends were laughing about it and I called over that I was terribly impressed he hadn't spilled a single drop of beer when he fell. To which one of his buddies replied (without missing a beat) "He will later."
Most of the museums are free, but they make up for it by charging an arm and a leg on admission to most of the other things. :-)
The plane trip out didn't seem very long at all. The plane trip back seemed looooong. We had bulk head seating both ways (blessed leg room) and the flight out left around 9:30PM EST. I took a sleep pill after dinner and ended up sleeping a good 5-6 hours of the 8 hour flight. The flight back left about Noon London time (7AM EST) so I didn't really want to sleep very much as I wanted to get back to EST as quickly as possible. So with no sleep to pass the hours it just dragged.
We had a great time in London, can't wait to get back to Europe. So many places to see. I just wish the USD would flex a bit of muscle.
Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.
Thursday, April 24, 2008