Wednesday, October 01, 2003

We went to London for a weekend recently. It was interesting to say. We got a good deal on the Midland Mainline Train from Nottingham and with return to London for 52 Pounds, first class, for two adults and child. The ride down was pretty good, with one stop in Leicester. You even get a free newspaper with coffee or tea.

We got a deal on a three star hotel with last minute dot com for 118 pounds next to Hyde Park. The only thing about our room was it was in the basement right over the Underground circle line heading in to Paddington Station. So every 10 minutes the rumbling of a train was under our bed. We asked the hotel management to move us to another room, but were told they could not do so until the next day.

The next day we went to Hyde Park. I have never been there and I thought that it would be like Central Park in NYC with more green grass, but the grass was left to grow wild and without being watered. This is how it must have been back in the during the 1700s. One nice thing about Hyde Park was that you could rent deck chair for one pound that is around the pond.

After chasing duck and pigeons we took a tour of Kensington Palace. It was pretty interesting to see how the royalty used to live. One thing that struck me that the King had the nicer rooms compared to the Queen. In the basement there was an exhibit on the dresses of Princess Diana.

Later that day we met some friends who flew in from the US and we went over to Buckingham Palace for a tour. The tour was great. I saw the White House in Washington DC, but compared to Buckingham Palace it a bit small and plain. You receive a small MP3 player so you can walk around and listen to a Price Charles and others explain the wonders of Buckingham.

After the tour we walked to Giraffe in Marylebone for dinner and meet some friends from Ireland who are living in London. The food was good and dinner was REAL exciting since there was a fire on the top floor of the building next to us. Three fire engines showed up, but we did not have to leave the restaurant. Pumpkin Girl was fascinated with the hoses and firemen talking with walkie talkies.

That weekend in London was warm and sunny. We changed rooms to the third floor, but hotel had no air conditioning, so we slept with the windows open. This night was interesting to say the least. First, the room next to us cranked up the TV and left the room with their room key it. They left at 11:00 pm, so we heard Graham Norton at full blast. We called management and after banging on the door for a few minutes they opened the door and turned the TV off.

Later that night we were awakened by the buzzing of two of London's police helicopters flying at rooftop level with searchlights blazing. They shinned the lights in our room and went up and down the alleyway behind the hotel for a few minutes.

Last, someone was trying to get the whole neighborhood in the mood by blasting Natalie and Nat King Cole singing "Unforgettable."

Sunday we meet our friends under the Waterloo Bridge because the Lord Mayor of London was holding a festival on the banks of the Thames River. We just walked around and did some people watching. We walked by the Tate Museum of Modern Art. Outside of the Tate was a big inflatable object of "modern art." It looked like a big, black bouncy castle. We were planning to have lunch at the Tate, but the food was too expensive. You were paying for the view of the North Bank of the Thames and having the bragging rights of eating in the Tate.

We went to a pizzeria next to the Globe Theater, after that, we took the tube back to our hotel and back on the train to Nottingham.

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