All is still well here across the pond! Tuesday afternoon, after we finished up at Starbucks, I headed back to Taylor’s flat to do some laundry. Hopefully that will be my only load while I’m over here! That night, England was playing the Ukraine in Euro 2012 (a big soccer tournament) so we headed around the corner to a local pub with some of her English friends to watch it.
Fun fact: most people in England don’t pay for cable as it’s very expensive. Hence, if a game isn’t being shown on one of the public BBC channels, locals have to head to a pub to take it in. No wonder the pub culture is so much stronger over here!
Luckily England won, so the atmosphere was festive. It makes me kind of sad that we don’t have such a strong tradition! Obviously I understand the convenience of turning on your television and watching the game from the comfort of your own home, but it isn’t quite the same. Can you imagine if bars were packed for EVERY single sporting event? So much fun!
Yesterday morning, Taylor and I woke up early and walked over to check out her gym. I bought a guest pass, and was so glad to see some weights! We have been walking A LOT over here, but I have been missing my weekly sweat sessions other than cardio. My arms are feeling it today!
After that, we headed home and packed up for London! Then it was off to the train station with a packed lunch for the train, like a true Brit. I knocked out a magazine or two – trying to reduce the amount I’ll have to carry home at the end of all of this!
Taylor’s mom, Deb, was waiting for us at the Earl’s Court tube station after flying in from Kentucky. We met up with her, then headed off to our B&B in Parsons Green! It’s such a cute little area, and the weather was beautiful upon our arrival. We strolled past the park and to our host, Lizzy’s, home.
We rented through a neat website that lets you view smaller B&Bs and rent rooms. Lizzy’s house is darling, cutely English with a nice back patio, and she even serves us breakfast every day. It’s nice to get more of the real English feel for this time in London!
Upon arrival, Lizzy greeted us with some elderflower juice and company on her back patio, in the midst of an English garden. The sun was shining, and we were content to just relax for a bit.
Soon, Taylor had to pop over to a work event for a few hours, so her mom and I just wandered over to a nearby pub for a bight to eat. We’re staying in Fulham, near the border of Chelsea, two very nice areas of London. We pass a cute park and several restaurants on our brief walk from the Tube stop to our B&B, so we had no problem finding a place! Then it was off to bed to rest up for a big day of walking.
After a nice spread of breakfast, we were fueled up and ready to set out on a walking adventure. We had prepared for rain, but luckily it only sprinkled a few times on us! Otherwise, we actually saw the sun and were quite warm. Much better weather than last week (sorry Mom and Dad).
We covered many of the spots that I had already seen: Big Ben and Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Leicester and Trafalgar Squares, Picadilly Circus – the big ones. But we also got a nice surprise in that we could get up closer to Buckingham this time – not as much construction around it! Although there are a lot of the areas of the city that are shut down in preparation for the Olympics, even more so than last week.
Our timing was even so wonderful that we happened by Buckingham just in time to see part of the Changing of the Guard, although it is different since the Mall is closed in preparation for the Olympic marathon. It is more contained and less spectacular – glad we saw it in all its glory last week!
After Buckingham, we headed over to the theater district to see if we could get into a matinee. Luckily for us, Billy Elliot was showing at 2:30! We grabbed tickets, and then walked to a nearby Lebanese restaurant for lunch. Tay and her mom are part Lebanese, so it was like eating with locals! We got a big mezze platter filled with lots of different dips and salads to share. Yum.
Then it was back to the theater for our show! We were pretty high up in our seats, but it was still an incredible performance. The musical is based on the movie, about a little boy in a coal town in England who wants to become a dancer. The music was beautiful, the acting made me cry, and the little boy who played Billy was UNBELIEVABLY talented for such a young child. So glad we decided to pop in!
From there, our walking tour continue through a few more stops before we started to get hungry for dinner. Taylor spotted Wagamama, a noodle restaurant off Leicester Square, that she had eaten at before and liked. By that point, we were tired and hungry and just went for it – and it did not disappoint! My noodles were great. Taylor’s mom even got some kind of strange jasmine tea, with what looked like an entire tree branch in the bottom.
All in all a pretty successful day! We’re off to do more sight-seeing tomorrow, and then headed to the Royal Ascot horse race on Saturday. Cheerio from London!