We arrived in London quite early, around 8:30 am. Took the Heathrow express into town, and went to check into our hotel, which was the Copthorne Tara in Kensington. The location is wonderful, the hotel is just ok. At the time, (back in 2002) we got it for $70 a night on Priceline. It counts as a 4 star, but as anyone who has stayed in any UK hotel knows, their star system is quite different, and I'd call it more of a 2 star. For this short leg, my brother and I were sharing a room, not our favorite thing to do, but it saved money that we really needed.
Our room wasn't ready yet, it was way too early for that, but they took all our luggage and locked it away for us, and we had a chance to change our clothes and set out.
I personally am always challenged by jet lag going that direction, because I don't really sleep on the plane, so I was tired, but very happy to be in London
. My one other wish was that it was cooler; it was unseasonably warm, and I brought all these sweaters, since London warm is just an offensive thought to me. What good is London
if it's not cold and rainy and foggy? Oh well.
We took a walk around the edge of Hyde Park, and made our way to Harrods. Out of all my trips to the UK, I'd never actually made it here before, and had been told several times that I absolutely had to go to the food halls, so off we went. Harrods didn't open until 10:00, so we got there just before the doors opened.
Once they did, we had a grand time in the food halls, and were quite disappointed that we weren't allowed to take pictures in there - what a great place! For any of you that haven't seen it, go to google and search "Harrods food hall images" and then go to the image section (obviously SOMEONE is taking pictures in there) it's just amazing.
We each picked out something for lunch, and then left to catch sightseeing bus.
Before you judge me on doing the sight seeing bus, let me tell you - right or wrong, I do this every time I get to London, for several reasons. The biggest one is this; as already mentioned, when coming from the west coast of the US, you always arrive in London first thing in the morning, and your hotel room isn't ready until late afternoon. You're too tired to do a lot on your own, so getting on the top level of the bus, relinquishing all responsibility, and just relaxing in your half comatose state and enjoying the sites with the wind in your face is nice. And in addition, you then get your free passes for the boat ride, which I love.
By then, our room was ready. We went back, got ready, and my great friend Richard met us at the hotel to go out to dinner.
Seeing Richard is always an amazing treat, because living so far apart, our visits are so few and far between.
But finally there he was, a fantastic sight for sore eyes; and as is always my tradition, we headed out for an Indian food dinner for our first night in London
Richard picked the restaurant, and he picked a fantastic one, although I can’t remember the name anymore. Dinner was great, and afterwards he took us to a wonderful pub, filled with old, long, wooden tables. Had a long chat on UK and US politics, and headed back to the hotel.