First day impressions of life in London
07.07.2007 - 08.07.2007 20 °C
Today was our first day in London as part of our UK Orientation trip in preparation for our move here in September. Stephannie and I left Arizona on Saturday afternoon. Our first stop was Los Angeles. From here, we boarded a Boeing 777 on 7/7/07 - interesting, huh? to head to London. After several hours, we were finally heading EAST in the direction of what will become our new home.
The flight was good. We ate dinner on the plane and watched a horrible movie - Premonition - I certainly wouldn't recommend it! After that, we curled up for several hours of sleep. When we woke up, we had some breakfast and then it was time for the plane to land - just under 10 hours from Los Angeles. When we arrived in London, we had a little bit of a tough time finder our driver but then we heard our names called on the overhead speaker in the airport - we found him right away. It was a half hour drive out to the Hilton hotel in Cobham where we are staying. It was a B-E-A-UTIFUL day in London - sun shining even!
After a quick shower and change of clothes we arranged for a taxi to bring us to the closest train station - Weybridge. Like old pro's, we bought our day passes for the train, got on the right platform and headed into London. The train made several stops along the way but we were in downtown London in 40 minutes. The train dropped us off at London Waterloo station right near Westminster Bridge. We walked across and saw Big Ben, Parliament, and the London Eye. We walked along the South bank of the Thames until we came to our first pub where we stopped for a pint and some dinner. I can usually understand most of the accents here but I had a hard time with our waitress at the pub. When I ordered at the bar, I had to ask her to repeat the order several times and finally just nodded like I knew what she said. When dinner came, steak and mushroom pie had become a chicken and stuffing pie - but it was good all the same. Loaded in brown sauce - yum!
After our first pub visit, we continued walking along the Thames taking in all the sights: The Globe Theatre, The National Theatre, OXO Building, Tower Bridge, and much more. We decided to cross London Bridge and had a great view from the middle. We met a couple from North Carolina there - we must have stood out as Americans - they were asking if that was in fact London Bridge! From the north side of the river we walked up to St. Paul's Cathedral and rested our feet on the steps outside. Every so often we would stop and think if this was real - are we really in London - who would have guessed?!?
From here we took the underground to London Victoria Station, saw the theatre Wicked is playing at in London, and walked over to Buckingham Palace. We watched the guards outside as they marched back and forth. It's an odd contrast to see the black fuzzy hats along with the automatic machine guns! From here we walked through the beautiful gardens at St. James Park and then made it up to Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus. We indulged in a little taste of home at Ben & Jerry's here and then took the underground back to Waterloo station. Here we switched to the train which took us back to Weybride, where we called a taxi, and returned, after a very full day, back to the Hilton in Cobham. We both started falling asleep on the train back from London - the combination of the rhythm of the train, the tiredness of our feet, and the jetlag was setting in - luckily one of us kept awake throughout the ride and we didn't miss our stop!
It was a great day and I was glad we got to spend a little time in London before the orientation work begins tomorrow.