Okay, I've been mentally planning this post for awhile now and I figured I better write it before we're not even in the same damn MONTH as the trip!!!! I'll try to keep it from getting too long, but I was there a week! Tuesday/Wednesday:
Got to the airport nice and early, went through security with no problems. My friend had warned me that the UK was using Chip & Pin credit cards so in a moment of panic, I went to the currency place and not only got sound pounds but also one of the cards. (In the end, I shouldn't have bothered - London is too much of a tourist town to not take our old magnetic cards...plus I could never remember the damn PIN!) My flight left with no problems at all. Had a yummy chicken curry dinner on the plane and watched episodes 6 & 7 of 'Game of Thrones' on my iPhone, then passed out for a little while.
At the last minute, I managed to convince Perri, one of my bestest buds, to travel with me. She flew Virgin Atlantic and made it to Heathrow BEFORE me LOL! So she was waiting at the gate when I landed. We headed over to the hostel, Palmer's Lodge
. This was my first hostel experience and, let me say, I do not think I'm cut out for hostel vacationing. I like my own space, even if it is just to sleep in. Had a little bit of a shock when we went into the room and found that it was twin-sized bunkbeds. And Perri & I had gotten a TOP bed. You can see how thrilled I am about this in the photo Perri took of me "settling in
Even though we were running on fumes at this point, we decided we better keep moving so we didn't fall asleep! We wandered back out in to the city and ended up at St. Pancras station
. Perri drooled over the Eurostar train for awhile, then we went outside and found an Irish pub for lunch. The food was okay, but the highlight of the meal was the little ol' Irishman sitting next to us. You could tell he was a regular by the amount of *eyeroll* he got from the young waitresses every time he ordered another Guiness. Perri got a Guiness with her meal and he took this as an opportunity to chat with us and tell us about all the great vitamins contained in Guiness beer and how pregnant women should be encouraged to drink it!
We ate our food (Perri got a Shepard's Pie, I went with an Irish burger) and then we realized we were right next to the British Library! We went inside and wandered around. It was being heavily used, lots of floors, though many of them were for special collections and studying so you couldn't just go walking. The "King's Collection
" was in the middle of the building. We did manage to wander into the Science Fiction exhibit
they had going on, though at this point, we were SO tired, we just sort of walked through and glanced at everything. It was pretty cool though. You forget that mankind has been fantasizing about going to space since before there were even rockets or cars or any technology that could make it seem possible.
At this point, we stumbled back to Palmer's Lodge (after getting ourselfs a week-long Oyster card for the Tube -- which means we bought a subway pass that would last us all week). I think it was only 6 or 7...but we were so tired. Perri was smart and brought along earplugs so we took quick shower (oh god, hostel showers, never again!) and passed OUT! We both woke up around 11pm because people were shuffling in and the bass beat from the bar below was thumping loud enough to penetrate our earplugs. Plus we were REALLY HUNGRY! Unfortunately, there were no places to eat at the lodge, but a little Deli was open down the street, so we walked down and got a yummy sub and a water and I picked up a Cadbury chocolate bar, which hit the spot. So then we passed back out again.( Day 2 and BEYOND! )
Wonderful trip all around. I am so happy that Perri was crazy enough to hop on that plane and join me because a week alone in London would have been a LONG time. I don't know if I would have been brave enough to go to Cardiff by myself too. Definitely going to remember this one for a long time!
If you'd like to see all of my pictures from the trip - the set is on FLICKR here