Friday, after about 45 minutes on the Tube from Heatrhow, we got to london and went straight to the Hostel in Russel Square, if any of you are familiar with London or the tube bombings a while back, Russel square and the Piccadilly line is where the bombing happened. There was a memorial plauque by where you purchase your Tube tickets. so that was kind of, cool? to see.
after getting checked in, we hit up Tesco Express for some groceries to save pounds from not having to eat out every meal. This turned out to be a GREAT idea. After that, we had some Raspberry Absolut drinks in the hostel and headed out for a night on the town.
After speaking with a local and asking him where to go, we settled on this pub called, The Lamb. It was this old little pub and man was it cool. It had these things called spin mirrors that were used to distort your image so other people couldn´t tell how drunk you looked because the mirror would make everyone distorted! We sampled the local fare of beers which included Young´s. I would highly recommend that you try every kind of Young´s they make...they´re delicious.
While at the Lamb, we manage to start talking to these 2 English guys. They were both wearing capri pants which initiated the conversation and led us to discover that they are bikers (bicyclers) and had just gotten off a ride and started slamming Carlsberg´s. I couldn´t tell you their names for the life of me. After a few pints and slight inebriation, we head to some random ass bar with these guys and pick up some Red Stripe, which they bought, on the way.
Once we got to the other bar, i managed to sneak in 2 red stripes and sat there talking to people and drinking a can of beer I clearly didn´t buy in the bar. After a while and deciding it was time to get some sleep, we headed back to the hostel.
Saturday was dave day! we started the day by heading to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the London Eye, and a few other staples of london. We took the tube almost everywhere. In Europe, which i don´t think they do in the US, they sell day travel cards for the Trains (HINT CHICAGO.) They cost about $10 a day for central london and the further away you travel from the center the more they cost. At every tube stop, this lady with an english accent (recording) would come on the PA and say "This is Picadilly Circus, Please Mind the Gap, Mind the GAP!" Apparently a 5 inch drop from the train to the platform is a gap that causes some people great problems stepping. Also, London is home to some of the LARGEST escalators i have ever seen. The tubes are so deep that you take these escalators about 5 times the size of one from any mall in the US...it was crazy.
After some sandwiches we made for lunch, we jumped the tube to north Greenwich to get in line for the DMB show! The O2 arena was really cool. not only did it have the arena but inside the O2 "Bubble" were tons of places to eat, drink, shop, and be merry. It was like a mall with a concert venue in the middle instead of a food court or movie theater, very neat. We got into line around 430pm and the doors didn´t open until 6:30. We met a few people in line from the US, one named frost who was buy himself so he joined us for the rest of the nights activites, mainly talking about dave and watching the show. He had flown in by himself for the show and works for Marriot. Very nice guy and will be at Alpine for the shows this summer!
After eating dinner in line for dave the doors finally opened! As the show started I immediately knew it was going to be a great show when we found ourselves in the 5th row, again. We waited a long time and the show finally got underway. Once difference about the GA floor, NOBODY was drunk. Almost nobody was even drinking the whole night. A very big difference than any dave show in the US, but a welcome change for once. When dave came out to introduce Alberta Cross, the opening band, he talked for longer than I have ever heard him. I didn´t know he could string that many sentences together in his state of mind. This excessive talking continued throughout the show. Dave talked in between songs more than I have EVER heard in my 20+ shows. Even more than a Dave and Tim show, so that was really cool to hear/see.
After a great set and the return of Sugar Will, we stuck around to get front row and try and get a set list. After much deliberation and avoiding being thrown out by these asshole security guards who tried to tell me they didn´t have any setlists (which i knew to be 100% BS) one of the techies gave me Tim´s setlist! Another great souvenir!
After standing for like 7 straight hours, we went back to the hostel and passed out to get ready for sunday!
After a hearty breakfast of Toast and Coffee at the Hostel, we headed out for day 3 of london. 3 of the people I was with had to head back to sevilla so we kind of had a rushed morning trying to get things done. We went to St. Paul´s Cathedral, which was like $20 to enter so we just looked, the Globe Theatre, The Tate Modern (art museum,) across the Thames, back to Big Ben for more pictures, and then to Marble Arch. After this the girls hopped on the bus to the airport. for the rest of the day, a lot of walking was done! We checked out china town, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, and just the general area! After a slight rest at the hostel, we headed out to take some night pictures of Big Ben, Parliament and the rest of london. It was so cool to see what you see in soo many pictures and postcards lit up and gleaming across the River Thames. Very cool...After a long day of walking we went to a local pub and sampled Strongbow, a traditional English Cider. I don´t know how people drink more than 1 of those a night, but i guess it can be done. I had one and had a sugar rush to the head, i am glad i only had 1 as a hang over from that would prove DEADLY. After 1 strongbow I decided on a delectable Guiness. I can´t beleive how much I have grown to love guiness and I am sad I can´t make it to Ireland this trip...reason to come back!!
After a nights rest, we woke up early on monday to go buy half price tickets to see Avenue Q, the musical. We got tickets for 12.50 pounds which is about $20. so that was a GREAT deal!! Afterwards, we ventured to all of the Museums of london that are free including the National Portrait Gallery, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. The reason we went to so many is because they are FREE. I think that all of these are free in order to offset the extreme cost of everything else in London. We also went to Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived as well as her memorial in Hyde Park, which was a cool fountain that depicted her life through the flow of water, choppy and rough at sometimes and then ending in a pool of calm after death, etc... So that was cool to see. It is crazy to think it has been 13 years since she was killed!! Time flies! Afterwards, we jumped the Tube to Camden Town.
Camden was one of the coolest things I had seen in London. It is a huge area with markets, stores, shops, food places, and tons of different kinds of people. It is kind of a hippie/ punk area but the stores were sweet and had a variety of various things for purchase. After meandering around for a while, we went to a swanky joint called Pier 1 to sample some Fish & Chips. It was a little bit pricier than most but thanks to the recommendation of a local brit, the fish and chips were awesome. The piece of Cod I had was HUGE!! Afterwards, we went back to get ready to head to the Theatre for the show!
Upon arriving we were told we had been given a free upgrade! Dress circle for $20, I´ll take that thank you very much. The theatre was sooo small compared to the mostrous US theatres and the show was ABSOLUTELY HALARIOUS. If you haven´t heard or seen it, Avenue Q is a spoof off of sesame street with puppets held by people that talk and sing. The story line is about trying to find your purpose in life through love and sex and friendship. There was a ton of swearing, sex and funny lines. A great show that I would suggest to anyone over the age of 16!
Afterward we chilled in our hostel for a little while. There was this kid named Tyson who was from San Francisco orginally and took a year off from college to just live in Europe. He had been all over and living in London for the last month and working at startbucks to save up money for his next 2 month trip. He said sometimes he even just sleeps on the streets when he runs out of money and can´t afford hostel´s or doesn´t have friends to stay with...truly CRAZY. I know my mother would KILL me if she knew i were doing that! (don´t worry mom, I´m not!) So we talked with him a bit about his adventures as well as ours and it was cool to hear some of the things he had done!
For our last day in London, we didn´t really know what to do after having seen what we thought was everything we wanted to. So we took the tube out to Wembley. It was about a half hour ride, but it was cool to see the arena! We also went to The Nationaly Museum (Free!) to check out the rosetta stone! That was really awesome to see in person! We also headed to Harrod´s. If you think Nordstrom is expensive or cool, than you have never been to Harrod´s. This place was not only OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive but had everything in it. They had different rooms with different things in each room such as a bakery, a tea and coffee room, a candy room, a perfume room, etc... They also have every designer product you could ever want at prices you never want to pay, but people were spending small fortunes while we were in there! It was a mecca of shopping and if you ever win a shopping spree, I would suggest you go to Harrod´s in London.
We didn´t have time to make it to Wimbledon, which i would have liked to have seen, but we got to see almost everything else in london!!
After 4 nights, we finally headed back to heathrow airport. Once through security, we encountered a mall that gave Orland Square mall a run for it´s money as far as size and had, once again, tons of designer stores. You could have gotten every designer purse and never even left the airport! It was nuts. The flight went well and I was glad, after a long weekend, to be back out of the bustle of the huge city. all in all though, an amazing trip!!