Here is the long-awaited (heh - who am I kidding?) UK trip diary. I didn't actually keep a diary while this was all happening, so I'm dragging it out of the dark recesses of my noggin. Come along, enjoy the ride! Beware of an overload of information! I'll add pictures later.
Day 1 - Left Toronto at 12midnight precisely, the flight was surprisingly good for a "budget flight". Lots of legroom & my arse even fit in the seat! Huzzah! I heart Air Tr@nsat. Food was not bad, but not great either. I tried to sleep but the fool in the seat in front of me kept opening her window blind (every 10 minutes) so I kept getting a face full of sunshine. Grrrrrr. Touched down at 11.30am local time, got a taxi to the hotel & were in our room by 12.30pm. That's got to be some kind of miracle. Didn't do much that day, except book a tour for the next day & go out to dinner at an Argentinian steak restaurant. Food was really good, especially the cheese bread & chimichurri sauce. Slept surprisingly well.
Day 2 - We (Andrew, Andrew's boss & I) did a day tour of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge & Bath (well, the Roman Baths). We had to be at the pick up hotel (10 minutes walk away) by 8am so we got up too early for a vacation, had a quick breakfast of yoghurt (that we'd bought the day before) and hit the road. The bus actually picked us up at 8.20am & took us to the bus terminal, where we lined up to get on our actual bus. Arrived at Windsor Castle at approx 10am, when it promptly started raining. Didn't take too long to get inside & get our audiophone tour guide thingy. Why they think people are co-ordinated enough to walk & listen to an audiophone at the same time is beyond me. Or maybe I'm underestimating other people. Anyway, the castle was very cool but the audio tour was too slow, we were constantly getting ahead of it. We had to be back at the bus by 11.45am, but of course you get held up by the changing of the guard (the police won't allow you to leave the castle grounds until it's over at 11.30am). Then we quickly grabbed some lunch, as previously instructed, and hoofed it back to the bus. Drove through the beautiful countryside (it had stopped raining by then) to Bath. I love Bath, it's one of my favourite places I've been, it's too bad we only had enough time to see the Roman Baths, which were actually the one part of Bath I didn't see the first time I was there. That was also neato. Had just enough time for an iced mocha & some yummy chocolates. Then back on the bus & off to Stonehenge! Stonehenge looks pretty much like it does when you see it on TV or in pictures, but it's smaller than you expect. That might disappoint some, but I thought it was great! Amazing that it's been standing for so long. It's also really cool to think about all the people in history who've seen it. Then it was back on the bus & back to the hotel. My feet were KILLING ME by this point. We did a little refreshing, then headed out to dinner at this great Italian place called Alloro. I had the best fried goats cheese on a bed of spinach salad, and for dessert I had a chocolate fondant cake. Yummmmmmm. Andrew wanted to check out the hotel he used to work at (Brown's) so we headed there after dinner, and he had a good chat with the doorman. Then it was back to the hotel. Man, I slept like the dead that night.
Day 3 - Andrew went to work that day, but first he got us a yummy breakfast from the café nearby. I had a chocolate pastry twist & a glass of milk - mmmmm. Actually, I had that the next 2 mornings too. Soooo yummy. Andrew & his boss headed out, & I went back to sleep. I woke up at 11.00am & decided that if I was going to do anything that day I should get a move on. I decided to walk up to the restaurant I used to work at (Café Creperie). Why I decided to walk, when my feet felt like pieces of tenderized meat, I don't know. It was pretty cool checking out all the high-end jewelry stores (Bulgari, Tiffany's, Chopard, etc) on my way. I also got told by a lovely African man that I was "his kind of woman". Thanks! This baby do got a fair bit of back. Made it to the restaurant in about 30 min, which I was pretty proud of. Had the same crepe I used to love when I worked there - stuffed with bacon, cheese & sour cream. These are big crepes, about the size of a platter. They put the stuffing in the middle of the big circle, then fold it up into a square. Then they cook it on both sides. It was sooooooooooo good. The place hasn't changed a bit, but the area is a lot more built up than I remember. Then I headed to Selfridges, which is right next door. Selfridges was one of the first purpose-built department stores in London, and it's celebrating 100 years in business this year. Everything was yellow - they had yellow Coke bottles, yellow carry bags designed by different designers (the one I got is designed by Stella McCartney), yellow rock candy. There's lots of designer stuff there, but since there was no chance any of it was going to fit me, I headed next door to Marks & Spencer. I got a very nice grey cardigan there. By this time my feet were saying NO MORE! So I hopped in a cab & headed back to the hotel. The boys had dinner with work colleagues that night, so I got room service.
Day 4 - Andrew was working again, so I headed out early (10am) to catch a hop-on, hop-off tour. It was rainy & cool that day, so I stayed inside the bus. I hopped off at Westminster Abbey, another place that I missed on my previous trip to the UK. Loved it - I lit a candle for my dad. I grabbed a snack there (at 2pm, I hadn't eaten since 8am that morning). I hopped back on the bus for what I hoped was a quick trip back to my hotel. After another 2 hrs on the bus I was finally home. I didn't pee all day - gah! That night we went to a seafood restaurant (I hate seafood but the boys really wanted some fish). I had a great steak there, though, and a yummy chocolate pot. Andrew had oyster rarebit for dessert (it doesn't actually contain oysters, just oyster stout & cheese). That was yummy. That was our last night in London, but we were getting anxious to move on by then.
This is wordier that I thought (but it's a good way to remember my trip). I'll pick up the story in another post.