Finally, I feel like I am REALLY in London!
It's been a dreary week weather-wise. Rain almost everyday, cold and windy and downright
grim. Had to spend so much time at work, there wasn't really much time for anything fun. All I saw for the most part was the office, various cabs, rather ordinary looking streets and the commuter train. The exceptions to this were the day in Colchester which was fun. I got to meet a lot of the IT staffers I work with and we went out for 2 very nice meals. The first was at a place called Farm Hall
which I would have enjoyed spending more time exploring. How many times have you had lunch with a peacock running around past your table with 3 chicks?
The food was excellent and the atmosphere couldn't be lovelier. I highly recommend the place.
For dinner we drove out to a nice Italian place. I think it was called Portofino, but don't quote me on that. As you can see from this picture, a good time was had by all, helped liberally by massive quantities of Pimm's and lemonade, wine and beer.
London is an interesting mix of very old and VERY new. There is so much construction going on all over the place that just walking around got a little scary at times. Very narrow streets being torn up by huge construction guys with trucks and heavy equipment sometimes made for some nervous going. Whole blocks and sections of the city are being torn down to make way for new buildings. I will say that a lot of what is being torn down is rather ugly - from the 1960s and 1970s style of bunker concrete design. Pretty awful stuff. Let's hope what comes next is more graceful and befitting this amazing city.
So, lots of work this week. Endless meetings and discussions and vendor demos. All useful and good, but the mind does tend to get exhausted from this. A couple evenings I ended up back at the hotel too wiped out to do much of anything. And since there weren't any plans, it was easier to just go chill for a
I did go out for a wonderful dinner on my first night with some vendor reps who were kind enough to treat me. We went to The Quality Chop House
on the bank of the Thames right near the Tower Bridge. It was pretty cool, as the picture shows.
That is something very neat about London, although I suppose it is the same with every major city with recognizable landmarks. As you move around, you suddenly come upon something you've seen all your life only in pictures. The Tower Bridge, Big Ben, West Mininster Abbey, Whitehall, St. Paul's Cathedral. It's pretty cool.
The sky didn't clear until last evening - finally, some blue skies and no threat of rain. I went back to the hotel and changed into my jeans and lit out like a bat out of hell.
I got a cab and headed for the London Eye
. If you get to London you HAVE to do this! It is an amazing experience. It looks like a giant bicycle wheel in the sky or a futuristic Ferris wheel. It takes you up into the sky and you can see all of London laid out before you. I watched the sun set and the moon rise as we moved around. It was incredible. Fortunately, I was able to be so involved with taking pictures that I could ignore the sleazy drunken guy who was trying to hit on me. Ick.
I walked around the area for a while and took a bunch of pictures of Big Ben, who is sadly silent for the
moment while they make repairs. I tried to find someplace decent for a late dinner but I couldn't see anything so I ended up back at the hotel, but so happy to finally feel like I am HERE. Really here, in the place I have dreamed of for my whole life.
I was so excited last night, I felt so good. I hang on to moments like that because they mean so much.
Now I am waiting at the hotel for my friend taldragon
to come and fetch me for a day of running around London and the SUN is FINALLY out!! It is a gorgeous day and I can't wait to get out there and see some more of London.
Tomorrow is packing up and heading home, but that's OK. I miss the kids and I miss David and I miss home where I don't have to spend 10 minutes figuring out how to turn the lights on. No kidding, when I got to my hotel room on Monday, I had no idea how it worked. Finally I figured out that I had to stick my room card in the little reader by the door and then - wonder of wonders - the lights come on. You'd think they would clue a person in on stuff like this. And don't get me started on the bathtub/shower that you need a step stool to get into. Except there isn't one. I've got a gorgeous bruise on my right knee from slamming it on there. My only worry now is if my left knee will hold up on the flight home. When I got here, I could hardly walk after being trapped for 9 hours next to Jabba the Unbathed drunk. I've got a bulkhead seat on the way back, so hopefully that will make a difference. I've been wearing a knee brace all week. Stairs are not fun.
It's been an amazing trip... and I still have today!