My previous post on Wales, On to London Town, brought us to the Lancaster Hotel in London. We were using some of my companion’s time share points for this hotel, and good thing too; a five-star hotel in London doesn’t come cheap and even with the points we needed to pay an additional $100 per night. The Lancaster is normally out of my league.
Even the posh hotels aren’t without risk – perhaps the higher the star count, the hotter the water as ours was too hot – not a common observation, I know. In addition, I nearly branded by bottom on the heated towel rack.
We had two and a half days in London and we hadn’t really made any plans, which was a mistake. We had both been to London before … Big Ben, St-Paul’s, Westminster, the Tower, the Palace … the old sites don’t change, or if they do it’s not for the better—there’s scaffolding up for repairs, or plexiglass separating one from the item being viewed, or worse, you can’t even gain access any more. I had hoped to get a photo of #10 Downing for my door collection – see Just Doors 1 and 2 – but, no access. Consequently we weren’t terribly keen on taking in the sites. I would have enjoyed entering Westminster Abbey again, but it was not open to the public. The Eye never appealed to me, and along with that relatively new phallic tower, it is, in my opinion, a blight upon the traditional skyline of London.
So we found ourselves at loose ends. Despite the fact that the fall weather was glorious, strolling the streets of London reinforced my proclivity towards avoiding cities in general while on holiday. The jammed sidewalks were a sea of bobbing heads, and the traffic was congested and noisy and relentless. Welcome to the city. We truly should have made plans.
After strolling aimlessly we took a side street in search of feeding establishments. I must say that the one we chose had a washroom that will probably find a place in my infamous ‘bathroom’ dreams. There are much more pleasant things to dream about, I know, but I seem to have an inordinate number of dreams centred on the bathroom theme. This bathroom was so small that I needed to straddle the fixture in order to get far enough back to be able to close the door, and so narrow that I could barely manage to achieve the abovementioned position.
Interjecting here, about bathrooms … while waiting in the food court area of the train station in Cardiff before departure, nature called and the WC signs lead me to a door with this sign, which gave me pause. I wasn’t sure if I was considered “uppercrust” … I threw caution to the wind and entered and it was only on exiting that I saw an eatery across the concourse, a sandwich bar called, of course, The Uppercrust. OK, laugh if you must. I’m not very sophisticated, I’m gullible and I’m easily fooled.
The next morning we headed for our complimentary breakfast, key here is that it was complimentary because the menu indicated it was £23! ($41.00). For a breakfast buffet. And all I had was toast.
On disembarking we were at Westminster and so in the end we did take in some of the traditional sites.
We ended our trip on a familiar note – we got lost. The concierge had suggested a nearby pub and gave us another teeny map and directions … inexplicably we got lost as soon as we exited onto the sidewalk. After walking about four blocks out of our way we concluded our adventure with a truly excellent Italian meal.
In retrospect London would have been a more memorable and enjoyable stay if we had taken time to decide on something we wanted to do or see. But we were so much more focused on Wales, and that, as it turned out, was a wonderful adventure for two old(er) ladies celebrating a lifetime of friendship.