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20090423/4 First Day in Europe - London (Part 2)

The first Pint is the deepest.

sunny
View Western Europe - Spring 2009 on icufoundme's travel map.

After I sent my last post, my computer died before I could get the pictures uploaded. So, I packed up my laptop and walked down to the spot where Victoria station lets out. I was hoping to get a bus tour booked for tomorrow at the tour kiosk. They were just closing up, and gave me a brochure. As far as I can tell, I could walk the same route, and the difference would be the walking time, and the tour guide giving a bit of history. If I decide to go ahead with it - I can come back in the morning. The buses leave every 15 minutes. Its hop-on / hop-off.

[Update: The full size images are now posted at http://icufoundme.shutterfly.com/]

By the station, there is a little corridor shopping center with booths selling tourist collectors items. I bought some post cards and postage and eyeballed an army green silk paisley scarf for 2.99. Maybe I'll pick it up tomorrow.

The temperature is dropping and the breeze is cool. It reminds me very much of Santa Cruz weather. It's all about the layers. I put on my first of 2 sweaters tied around my waist.
It's about 5pm and the workers are filling the pubs. Time for my first pint in London.

I walk to the end of the block where I see what I assumed to be a pub. It turns out to be the Balls Brothers wine bar. I took a picture and walked back the direction of my hotel resolved that my first drink will be a pint of ale ;)

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I come across "The Duke of York" and ask the barkeep to recommend a pale ale. He says "light or dark"? I choose dark, and he gives me IPA. I wander the pub and there are no seats. A nice gentleman named Jason offers me his stool, so I take a seat. I talk with him and his friend Tom for about 45 minutes as I finish my pint. I can't believe I forgot to get pictures. Well, I have Jason's email, so hopefully he will post a picture.

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After that Pint, I continue down the street - stopping in a couple of ladies clothing stores that were very reasonable. Beautiful things, but nothing I need, obviously.

I really enjoy the small day-to-day differences between cultures. One of my favorite things to do is browse around grocery stores. I stopped in Sainsbury's to pick up snacks for later at the hotel, and took a bunch of pictures of things that amused me. Those who worked with me at SurfControl will recognize the Yorkie bars I used to have at my desk sometimes; "Not for girls!". Hahaha! Gin and Tonic in a can - nice!

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After leaving the store, I come across "The and decide to have another pint. This barkeep picks up on my accent right away, and when I ask for a pint of ale - he tells me that they call lager "beer", and ale "bitters". So, I ask him to recommend a bitter, and he asks me "large or small". I say "pint", baffled. Then , I notice that lots of people are drinking beers from tiny glasses like ones I'm used to seeing at restaurants serving orange juice or milk with breakfast. A half pint, I assume.
He pours me a lovely pint of "London Pride". Nobody speaks to me the whole time I'm there except some tourists from Louisiana who agree to take a picture for me. I took a short video of the pub scene for anyone interested.

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Overall, it seems that Londoners aren't particularly friendly unless you press yourself on them, then they open up. I suppose it's the same most places. The few friendlies I met were from outside London proper, and emphatically agreed that they had the same conclusion.

London actually reminds me of New York a bit. During the day - the city is all business. People racing around in expensive trendy clothing, pushing and shoving to get to the important places they are headed. Its very multinational. And there are obvious divides - and in some cases animosities - between the cultures. But for the most part... people are just people like they are anywhere.

After that last pint, it was my favorite time of day for photos - the golden hour and evening. I had a second wind and walked down Victoria Street toward the River Thames. I spent the time until dark taking photos of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Methodist Central Hall, and a bit of The Houses of Parliament and The Eye of London.

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In my photos, I keep cutting the very top off of my subjects. Dang. I try to get as far away as I can, and zoom out as far as I can, but It seems like I just can't seem to get a little space at the top of the building images. I'm the ultimate tourist here - climbing up on fences, standing in streets, crouching under trees with my camera to get the pictures. Heh.

Well, its getting chilly and I'm Hungry, so I head back to the Hotel.
There's a subway in an alley by the hotel so I get a warm Italian Sandwich to go.

After I'm safe and warm back in my room, I eat and take half of one of the sleep aid pills my doctor gave me for the trip (Zolpidem). Dessert is dark Choco Liebniz abd whole milk - mmmm!
I charge my laptop grateful that I bought that $5 universal plug converter from Amazon.com.

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I was already exhausted today. Now I can't keep my eyes open a minute longer.

Good night world!

Posted by icufoundme 06:05 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged tourist_sites

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Comments

Ryan wants to see picts of ur hotel!!! VERY, VERY cool 2 c BIG BEN!!!! We're all livin through u here!!! Lov u Aunt Lindz!!!

by nizzangirl

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