Drew and Alaina's Whirlwind Trip of Europe
London. We arrived in London at about 9pm and quickly found the train to Adam and Deena's. We were exhausted and went straight to bed as we wanted to go out and see the city first thing the next morning. We woke up on June 7th finally in Europe and off to have my first traditional English breakfast at a small rooftop restaurant near the flat we were staying in. I must say the English know breakfast (eggs, toast, ham*they call it bacon but we American's know otherwise*, beans, sausage, mushrooms, coffee*white* which means half milk half coffee, and something very close to a McDonalds hash brown only triangular). From the restaurant we started our days hike, little did we know that everyday we would be walking equally as much as the first. We walked from the area Deena and Adam live in (the Northwest part of London) to Hyde Park. We sat and people watched for a while before walking on to Buckingham Palace. We watched the silly looking guards march back and forth in front of the palace and took some pictures. Then we walked to Westminster Abby and the Parliament buildings, they were very beautiful, the park winds through the whole of this area so we were able to walk along pleasant paths near ponds and people everywhere. We were lucky enough to have made it to London in the midst of a heat wave, so there was definitely no fog, and plenty of sun. We walked over one of the many bridges that crosses the Thames river to the south bank where we ate lunch at a great restaurant (a favorite of Becky's) near the London eye (a giant Ferris wheel that circles all the way around once every 30 minutes and let you have a rather good sight of London) we chose not to take a ride, as we had the best possible tour guide Adam (a history major at the University in England). From the south bank we headed to a square where we found a pub and ordered a round of drinks, watched a man attempt to do a rather lame magic show and then headed off to meet some more friends in the Soho district (the most number of gay bars in any area I have ever seen, YES more then the Castro district). We met up with Anna (a friend from Finland), Emma (Adam's sister a journalist who works for the Star a gossip newspaper), and later Deena, and proceeded on the pub crawl for the evening. Deena and Adam were leaving the next day for Germany to go to the World Cup so they wanted to see there friends before going. Dinner was eaten at about 1am at an Indian restaurant (Drew's first time eating Indian food, not all that impressed but starving and therefore content to eat just about anything). We got home via a Double Decker bus, my first time riding one or being on the wrong side of the road while in a vehicle, at about 2am. A mere 14 hours after our day had begun. The next day we wanted to see a little more of London so we headed off to St. Paul's Cathedral. A stop had to be made at the STA travel office before any further sightseeing could be done as we ( meaning I) had totally forgotten to get us our ISIC cards before leaving the States, and had just about lost my mind the night before we left SF as we were supposed to have them to board our flight. After successfully retrieving our cards we entered the Church. It was Drew's first time in an Anglican cathedral, rather then a Catholic one and we enjoyed walking the rather large man floor and seeing all the history. At the back of the Church there is a small area, behind the main alter, that was badly damaged during the 2nd World War and when they rebuilt it they dedicated it to the Americans who helped during the war. We then made out way up 250 or so stairs to an area called the Whispering Gallery. It was built in such a fashion that a whisper spoken into the wall on one side can be heard all the way on the other side a good 100 feet away. From there we climbed the remaining stairs of the 530 that take you all the way to the top, to see one of the best views of London. It was quite striking but as the church was closing we were rather rushed and had very little time to stay and take it all in. After being rushed from the Whispering Gallery up and all they way back down both our legs were shot and we decided to head back to the flat. We wound up meandering through the Old Bailey district (tried to take a picture but technical difficulties with the camera meant no pics, little did we know this was a sign of many more problems with the camera). We wound up in the pier district where we got dinner, then as it was getting chilly we caught the tube back to change and go to meet up with Becky for a movie (we never wound up making it to see Becky as all hell broke lose upon our return). Being the bright American's that we are we had stopped at Wal-Mart before leaving Chico and bought vital travel supplies, which included a toiletry case complete with travel bottles for shampoo etc., a plug converter that was supposed to be good for the UK and the rest of Europe, and locks for our luggage. Upon arrival in London we discovered that the bottles in the toiletry case had all opened up, the locks liked to re-set themselves and change their own combination, and the converter didn't convert anything other then our camera base that charged the camera into a camera holder, after having been fried along with the main fuse in the flat. With Adam and Deena in Germany and half the flat in darkness Drew and I searched for the fuses, which we eventually found, but not before completely missing the time we were supposed to meet Becky. We decided we had to get to a phone and call her to let her know not to wait for us, and find a store to buy some tape and new bottles so that we wouldn't have to travel with a leaky case for the entirety of the trip. Once we contacted Becky and navigated the Drugstore which can be very confusing when compared to a Longs or Walgreen's, we went to the Movie Theater. In London things are still broken into classes, much more so than in the States, there are first class seats on the trains, and we discovered Premium seating at the Theatre. These seats are the ones that you can see the best from, and they cost 11 pounds (equivalent to about $15) we opted for the student priced seats and saw Poseidon (Titanic was better in my opinion). We arrived back at the flat and prepared for our departure for Paris. After mild confusion about which airport we were leaving from, and how to get to it on the train we arrived at the London Luton Airport right when we were supposed to check in, we got a bite to eat and headed to the area where the screens for departing flights to check our gate and discovered it had been delayed an hour and a half.