Day 1 - Piccadilly to Cockfosters

After work I went home, threw the rest of my stuff together, I missed my bus downtown (or it just never came, who knows). Fortunately, I have a roommate who was happy to take me downtown (thanks Ben). Then I took the light rail to the international airport. I met Heather there. We said “goodbye” to our bags and headed through security. I can’t remember the last time there was no line at security. I guess I need to fly more on weeknights.

Goodbye Luggage
Goodbye Luggage

The only downer was I had to go through that body scanner. I thought they were going to ask me if I want to go through that or the metal detector and next thing I knew I was inside and I couldn’t see who was ogling my naked body. Oh well, next time I’ll ask right away.

While waiting for our flight, some guy asked us to watch his luggage. That never happens to me when I travel by myself. Doubtless this was Heather’s fault for not looking surly and/or dangerous enough.

They served dinner on the plane. I got the chicken. Heather got the tortellini. I ate both of them (Heather ate dinner beforehand). It was OK, I haven’t had airplane food in a long time so I figured I’d go for the full international experience.

Chicken
Chicken
Tortellini
Tortellini

The flight was ok (piloted by Ronald Cox), I wish I was more Heather sized. At least on the way home it will be a day flight so hopefully I won’t want to try to sleep.

Small Seat, long Legs
Small Seat, long Legs

I left my glasses on the plane so we had to wait for them to find them.

After being reunited with our luggage we got on the Underground on the Piccadilly to Cockfoster line. We didn’t get to go all the way to Cockfosters though, we had to switch trains. Once we got out of the “Underground” we were happy to find the sun shining and things are much much greener and warmer then in Minnesota. The trees look like they were just starting to bud.

Heather at Barons Court
Heather at Barons Court

We checked into The Vandon House Hotel. It’s actually run by the Central College (in Iowa). I’m not exactly sure how it works, but a lot of college students stay here, presumably during study abroad programs, then they rent out the extra rooms as hotel room. It is pretty simple, not much fancier then a hostel, but it’s not very expensive (for London) and it’s got a great location.

After we checked in we took a (surprising short) walk down to the houses of parliament. After getting shuffled though this long process of security, police, ushers, including signing our name promising we would not be disruptive, we got to listen in on some of the debate. In the House of Commons they were talking about some proposed changes to legislations about who could do what to protesters. In the house of Lords it had something to do with health care. I think they were talking about funding some program.

Big Ben
Big Ben

Then we took a little jaunt across the Thames and got a look at Big Ben and Parliament from across the river. Then we headed back toward Vandon House for some dinner. First we tried the “Adam and Eve” pub, it seemed like a cool place. We sat down and started looking over the menu. The lady next to us saw we were looking at the menu and asked us if we were looking to eat. Then informs us the place is fine for a drink but the food here is terrible and we should go down the street to The Old Star, where some good food is. So that’s what we did, it was packed though, we kinda lucked out getting a table, and the lady was right, it was good.

British Pub Food
British Pub Food

We finished up the day by walking down to Hyde park and saw a bunch of stuff on the way including Buckingham Palace and Gardens. We kinda got lost coming back but we got to see Sloane Square and a lot of really nice (and expensive) looking places to live and buy things.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

When we got back to Vandon House I was exhausted and pretty much went straight to bed.