Good Morning Americans (and other worldwide friends!)
I'm once again at my favorite watering hole, Starbucks, for the free use of their wi-fi. More on my wi-fi woes below.
Yesterday was a glorious day and I took advantage of the exceptional weather to take a walk through Hyde Park all the way over to the Lido area and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
The walk down Bayswater Road, which borders the north side of the park, was lined with artwork being sold by independent artists for the full length of that side of the park. For all I know, there may be more on all 4 sides of the park. But, it was wonderful to see. If I lived here, I could probably have found some pieces to buy.
Once inside the park I just started making my way toward the fountain and taking in all the sights. A couple of observations:
- Dogs don't have to be on leashes in the park
- Very young children get around on foot-powered scooters
- Very young children will get in the water no matter how cold it is
I snapped quite a few photos while there. Please view my photo album. I took some video, too. I will try to upload it as well, so please check there, too.
It was wonderful to see the utter joy all the children were having wading in the fountain. It is a very unusual fountain--it is somewhat of a circular trough with a flow of water running through it. The outer edge was lined with adults sitting on the edge. Inside the circle, more families. It was just really cute to see so much glee! But, I felt the water and it was freezing! Kids didn't seem to mind.
Wandered back to the hotel to find a message from fellow SMS Raider, Kelly Ballard, who lives here. We had preliminarily made plans to meet up for drinks at some point during my visit. She said that last night she was free, so I told her I was going to my room for awhile to rest my feet and to call or e-mail me so we could decide where to meet.
Around 6:15-ish, when I hadn't heard from her, I decided to go to the lobby to check my email to see if she had sent an email instead of trying to call. Well, the internet was totally out! So, I went back to my room. Wouldn't you know, she called while I was in the lobby, so I missed her call. I couldn't call back because, in order to make a call from my room, I would have to buy a £5 calling card from reception. Besides, I couldn't get her number from her previous e-mail since I couldn't get online.
So, I hightailed it to the shopping center to see if Costa Coffee had internet. No, the did not. Then, had to scramble up to a Starbucks (different than this one) up the road. It was very crowded. No place to sit. I asked to share a table with a barely-English-speaking man. No problem. Only have my phone on me, not computer. Had a hard time connecting as it was soooo sloooow! We finally connected and she decided to meet me at Starbucks! Not what I was expecting, but had I left there, I would have been incommunicado.
After two-hours of trying to connect & meet, we finally got together!! I did not know Kelly from school, but we just started chatting like old friends. Made our way to a nice pub in my neighborhood with live entertainment. But, no tables. Kept moving down the street and ended up at another fine pub.
In London, at a pub, you seat yourself, look over the menu, place your order at the bar & give them your table number, pay then & there (no tipping!) and wait for your food to be delivered to your table.
I order a sampler platter which was very tasty! I also had a pint of cold lager! My meal consisted of sausage links, chicken wings, nachos, steak fries. Seems like an odd combo, but I really enjoyed it. I will probably go back tonight! LOL
Around 10:30, we parted ways and I headed back to my hotel. Stayed up looking at brochures until midnight.
I slept so good last night! Didn't wake up at all. Well, I woke up around 5:15 but decided it was too early so fell back to sleep and got up around 6:00.
It was sunny when I woke up, but right now it is lightly raining and pretty chilly.
Guess I won't be doing the double-decker bus today. I'll go back to the hotel and change into something a bit warmer then might make my way over to Harrod's. It probably won't clear up until tonight. So, indoor activities will be on the agenda today. I might also go to Madame Tussaud's. I still haven't bought my Oyster card. I guess today's the day as I will not be walking to those venues in the rain! I'll just play it by ear for the rest of the day. If it gets really nasty, I can always go to a movie as there is a theatre in the shopping center behind my hotel.
Another interesting observation I'm seeing as I sit here....little school girls on their way to school wearing their burgundy red uniforms and little hats and matching backpacks. I've seen about 6 or 7 so far. They all look like Madeline from the children's book series I remember reading as a child.
Ah, there goes a little school boy in a uniform on his scooter. His mom accompanying him on her bike. Kids here definitely get more exercise than those at home!
Well, going to attempt my photo/video uploads now. Perhaps I'll be more successful today.
I will try another update later, but will be out & about most of the day.
Hope you are all well!