wine by the color

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's hard to believe I got home from England two weeks ago. Time freaking flies, people. Before I disappear again, I thought I'd hit the high notes...

David, a dear friend and co-worker, announced last August that he was leaving to pursue his master's degree at Cambridge University. Originally, I planned to visit a friend who moved to Brazil but that just wasn't working out, so I instead decided to visit David for a few days. The trip came together quickly and I put together what should have been a solid plan. I was flying the night after my late night in the city for the Big East Tourney and was thus sleep deprived. Two glasses of wine later, I was in great shape for a lengthy nap while crossing the Atlantic.

Total number of hours available to slumber on the flight: 7.5
Total number of hours actually slumbered on the flight: 0.0

Not a good start. So instead of spending Saturday wandering around Cambridge, I spent it sleeping. But I rallied in time to attend a proper British dinner party. I only had to pass on one of the food offerings, a tomato-laden soupy stew. But considering my finicky palate, the fact that I ate the other five courses should be considered a record. I was also impressed with the amount of alcohol consumed during the four-hour gathering. I'm no slouch, but I was amazed at how much wine, champagne and port our British friends put away.

On Sunday we made up for Saturday's lost day. I borrowed a bike from one of David's housemates and we spent the day exploring Cambridge. Doing so on bikes gave it a real British feel, but given the 35-degree temperature, I couldn't feel my face by the day's end. Worth it, though. Cambridge is amazing. I remarked to David that it doesn't even look like a real place - it looks a movie set. Everything is 500+ years old. David managed to get me to attend a service in a church built in the 1500s. Going to church when it's not a wedding or funeral. Interesting concept.

Monday morning we took an early train back to London, where we spent two days seeing everything we could. From the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, to Hyde Park, to Westminster Abbey, to Big Ben and Parliament, to Harrod's, to Piccadilly Circus, to the stores on Saville Row, to St. Paul's Cathedral. The Inns of Court, the Royal Courts of Justice, Covent Garden, the Somerset House. David has learned a ton about London since he arrived in the UK and was a terrific tour guide in what is a fantastic and fascinating city.

I again took a ridiculous number of photos but tried to limit how many I put in a photo gallery. The last photo needs a little back story. On our last evening in London, we ate at an Italian bistro and then decided to have some late-night cocktails. We decided to really live it up and hit the Four Seasons, where the drinks cost almost as much as our dinner had.

As we walked to the Four Seasons, we saw a horde of photographers hovering outside another hotel. We paused briefly but there was no activity, so we walked on. But later, as we walked back to our hotel, they were in full pounce mode. Apparently the Royal Television Society Awards were being held. So I amused myself by taking a photo of paparazzi taking a photo of someone, in this case, British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson. I have no idea who that is, but David indicated he's fairly famous. So there you go.

David left early Wednesday and I spent the morning walking around Hyde Park and making a return to Harrod's. On the way to Heathrow, the train made a stop in Hammersmith, home to the Hammersmith Odeon (now the Hammersmith Apollo), site of the 1975 Springsteen concert I've been listening to constantly of late. Good times. And almost enough to make me forget the filthy, foul-smelling man sitting next to me on the train.

Almost.

3 Comments:

  • At 3/30/2006 4:06 AM, Blogger Marjon said…

    I love Jeremy Clarkson! He is a very funny tv-presentor.One of his programms is TOp Gear, a stupid show about cars. I don't particularly like cars, but they try to make a bus jump motorbikes instead of the other way around, and more stupid stuff like that.

     
  • At 3/30/2006 3:32 PM, Blogger Lozo said…

    i heard you erected big ben. how's it going?!?!

     
  • At 4/30/2006 2:55 PM, Anonymous Terry said…

    Drinking for England is an Olympic sport. We learn it at school.

     

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