London Calling

London Travel Blog

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I had five days to discover everything London has to offer. While I'm guessing we missed a street or two, it wasn't a bad start. The "we" is not a sign of onsetting schitzophrenia, but the addition of a friend to the journey. Mary, a fellow Hawkeye and Seattleite joined me for the England leg of my trip and was the first familiar face I'd seen in months.

I beat her into the city by a day, so I found a couchsurfer to entertain me in the meantime. My host for the night was a bloke named Dan. Sarcasm oozed from his profile, so I knew we'd get along famously. In the evening, we hit up hot spots in his southwest neighborhood of Tooting--an area, I'm pretty sure, that doesn't see many tourists.
mary and rafael
But the bars and crowds were just my style and Dan's sarcasm didn't disappoint, which all equaled a good first night in London.

Once Mary arrived, we got to work touring the city, and wearing down the soles of our shoes in the process. There were days we'd get home and realize we just walked for a solid 6 hours. We also got acquainted with the tube and red double-decker busses (where, with the exception of the time the driver announced to the remaining few tourists on the top level "People...I don't know why you're still on here. That was my last stop." we usually felt like old-pros) as they carried us between neighborhoods and attractions. We covered the major sites: Nottinghill, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, Hyde Park, the Parliament and every possible camera angle of Big Ben, with a few more scattered in between.
Whether New York is the London of the west or London the New York of the east, the similarities are blatant. And I can now say I'm a fan of both.

Rafael, an ex-coworker of Mary's, was gracious enough to be our host for the first few nights. We thanked him by cooking a dinner of chicken, lamb kebabs and vegetables. Two hours later, Mary was hovering in the bathroom, cursing the lamb that tasted so good on the way down. When my commiseration turned to a spinning head and stomach pains, I tried to convince myself it was just the power of suggestion. Whether it was real or pity, I eventually had to kick Mary out of the bathroom and take her place camping out on the floor. The timing, at least, seemed to be on our side. When one was at their worst, the other had a temporary hiatus from the misery. This is how we spent the night; ping-ponging from bed to toilet to bathroom floor. On top of my own relief, I prayed that Rafael made it through the night unscathed. Nothing says 'thank you' better than a night in the loo. Luckily, he seems to have a stronger stomach than Mary and me, and didn't have to kick us out of the house. Needless to say, the restless night put a slight damper on the next day's touring. But the one positive side of food poisoning, compared to the flu, is it's short shelf-life. On the downside, however, I may never be able to eat lamb again.
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mary and rafael
mary and rafael
cs host Dan
cs host Dan
one of bens many photogenic angles
one of ben's many photogenic angles
london eye
london eye
nottinghill markets and the cooles…
nottinghill markets and the coole…
firefighting is in my blood
firefighting is in my blood
a delightful little mews
a delightful little mews
hyde park
hyde park
i love the red phone booths
i love the red phone booths
2 seconds later, that squirrel ran…
2 seconds later, that squirrel ra…
tate modern (mod art museum)
tate modern (mod art museum)
tower bridge
tower bridge
photo by mary, but so very cool
photo by mary, but so very cool
London
photo by: ulysses