Monday, March 21, 2011

Stateside And Exhausted…

What a weekend!  I’ve been to London and back in the last five days.  I went from roaming through Notting Hill with two of my best friends to pushing my way down the rainy NYC streets.  I must warn you, this is about to become a love letter to London. 

I have been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout Europe, but other than a brief layover at Heathrow years ago, I’ve never stepped foot in the U.K.  I’ve seen enough Hugh Grant movies and listened to enough Morrissey to know that I love British men, British music, and Notting Hill, but that’s about it.  We flew British Airways from Newark to Heathrow and I must say our flight was lovely.  Since it was a pretty late flight (10:40pm) the plane was half empty.  We each had an entire row to ourselves to lay down and attempt to get some sleep.  They even feed you (twice!) throughout the flight.  The seats were comfortable and the staff friendly, although I’m sure the accents help in that regard. 

The in-flight entertainment was stellar.  We had a plethora of newly released movies to choose from.  I watched “Morning Glory” before dozing off for a few hours.  We woke up to a foggy London morning and were whisked off to Ash’s fabulous Notting Hill flat.  Ash is always the ultimate hostess so we had towels and instructions awaiting us and after some freshening up we were off to discover what London had to offer.  We hit all the major tourist spots, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, etc.  We walked and walked and talked and talked.  It was amazing.  The streets were impeccably clean without garbage cans on every corner and hundreds of signs basically begging people not to litter. 

The Tube was also spotless with boards showing when the next train would be approaching.  Public transportation was just so…civilized.  No shoving, yelling, and running for trains.  The double-decker buses provided built-in sightseeing while making our way around town.  London’s abundance of parks, broke up our day and the sunny mid-50’s weather set the tone for relaxation.  We drank pints (of yummy cider and mulled wine), ate Thai food at a Pub, which is apparently the norm in the U.K.  We attended a fundraiser for Japan at a “Members Only” club in Chelsea.  We enjoyed tapas and sangria in Soho.  We wandered the fantastic vintage and food markets throughout the city.  We walked the London Bridge.  We enjoyed high tea at a classic London hotel.  We made a stop at Platform 9 3/4 for a photo op.  We spent late nights laughing on Ash’s couch.  It was perfect. 

One of my favorite moments were enjoying High Tea at the Cardogan Hotel which was in one of the swankiest areas of London.  The sandwiches and scones were to die for and I felt like such a lady.  The other was watching a Russell Brand special at 1am and laughing until it literally hurt.  The stand-up show was filmed before he began dating and subsequently marrying Katy Perry so it was exactly what you would expect: filthy. 

If I could use one word to describe the weekend it would be lovely.  Many thanks to Ash and Jon for putting us up!

Pictures to follow…

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