Far from San Francisco, my friend Lindsey arrived in London last Friday for a week long visit including her birthday and St. Patrick’s day. I can’t believe the week has already passed us by, time really does fly.
One important lesson learned: At Heathrow airport, the same flight numbers are recycled daily, applying to the exact same flight at the exact same time. Only the date is different. Unfortunately, when coordinating travel, the date tends to be somewhat important. I discovered this little fact when I showed up to Heathrow (a bit worries because one terminal was mysteriously evacuated and shut down) for flight BA286 on the 10th to collect Lindsey. After about 3 hours of waiting on the flight, which was listed and landed, I make some distressed phone calls only to discover that Lindsey was safe in San Francisco and not leaving until that night. Thanks to a little miscommunication and Heathrow’s confusing habit, I had two nice afternoons in terminal 5.
The wait was well worth it though. It is so lovely to have a little bit of home here with me for a week, to reconnect wit a great friend, and act as a tour guide for London now that I know it as home. We began with London as it really should be–a pint in a cute little pub with a dark wooden bar and leather corner seats.
Saturday we explored the crazy antiques/collectables market bustling along Portabello Road in Notting Hill. A few souvenirs and a scrumptious toffee cupcake from the famous hummingbird cafe late, we headed off to the Evolving English exhibit at the British Library and dinner with some friends at a favourite pub by King’s Cross. After dealing with an animated and exceedingly inebriated table of King’s College graduates and enjoying a fun night with people from my school, we didn’t quite make it to the crazy Fabric club due to what I like to call energy deficiency issues (aka narcolepsy in long club lines). Instead, 2 am noodles in the hotel bed and a few minutes of American Idol happily closed our night.
The rest of our week included various museums, the Tower of London, London Eye, Big Ben, Camden Market, “beigels” on Brick Lane, Greenwich and the maritime museum, countless tube rides, and a St. Patrick’s night celebration that more than made up for our earlier clubbing failure.
The Tower of London is an amazing microcosm of ancient history–a huge stone, walled-in complex on the north bank of the Thames where kings lived and were murdered, prisoners mysteriously vanished, and dozens of royal crowns are safeguarded. Canon and machine guns, ravens and royal robes, apple pies and ancient conspiracies–it can all be found within the old stones there.
With green shamrocks on our cheeks, green drinks ( the mint+chocolate “grasshopper” cocktail was a favourite), and plenty of good friends, we enjoyed the lively insanity of Leicester Square until Zoo Club closed down on St. Patricks day.
A movie outing to The Tempest, seeing a production of The Heretic (review to follow, because I adored it!), a tour of Dickens’s London and some good bonding time and coffee wedged in between it all–we definitely made this week’s precious time worthwhile!