Published: June 13th 2011June 13th 2011
Yesterday I took off from Houston after an hour long delay due to a malfunctioning bathroom. So, it wasn't until 10:30 this morning, London time, that I arrived in the UK. Excited, ready to face the London Underground and the city head on, I was then slowed down by a 45 minute wait through a feeder line for UK immigration.
By the time I got my Oyster card and got to the tube, I was a tired, sweaty wreck. Most of this was made worse by the fact that I was carrying about 60 pounds in luggage with me.
After one transfer and an hour in the tube I finally arrived in the Victoria section of Westminster in greater London. I got out and tried my best to remember the street names from all my hours staring at a map in preparation for this trip. Whether it was my exhaustion, or the fact that I just didn't remember all the streets I needed to know, I promptly got lost. I asked for directions once, but that didn't help enough. I had a map in a bag, but didn't want to dig it out. And my phone's GPS didn't seem
to work in London, much like my cell service. My Google maps app still had me in Houston - that was until I forced the map over to the UK; then it found me. This helped, but didn't stop me from walking down the wrong way a time or two. About an hour later I was finally in front of the easy hotel Victoria. It was about an hour and a half before official check-in, but by this time I had no problem handing over the 5 pounds for an early check-in. I got down to my little closet room and after getting my luggage inside, wrapped a cold, wet towel around my neck.
After cooling off it was time to go see if I could fetch a ticket to the Royal Opera House's performance of Verdi's "Macbeth." I took the tube to Leicester Square and found the TKTS booth. I asked the young man if he had any tickets for tonight's performance, to which he very flamboyantly stated, "No, but that's because it's fabulous!"
I found that the only way I was going to get a ticket was directly from the Royal Opera House and their lowest priced
ticket right now is about 120 pounds (that's close to $200 American). So, no Macbeth tonight.
I walked around Leicester Square looking at the various restaurants and shops (including a gigantic M&M store) before I settled on a small Lebanese restaurant with a nice patio where I could "people watch." I hadn't eaten since the crappy airplane chicken Parmesan, so I was quite hungry. What I ended up getting was some feta cheese cooked inside a puff pastry (with some fresh basil on the side) and some grilled lamb and chicken in a wrap. It may have been the exhaustion, or maybe the hunger, but it was simply amazing.
I decided to go back to my hotel for some much needed rest, but decided to get off one stop earlier before Victoria station, so that I could detour by Buckingham Palace. It was something I wanted to see so I could send a video to my daughter and take some pictures for her. This way she could see where an actual queen lives - and one who is not an evil queen like the ones in Disney movies.
Now I'm back at the easyhotel Victoria and probably
going to fall asleep while watching a movie on my computer. I'm still very tired and my shoulder is hurting from carrying the laptop bag and my loaded Fund for Teachers back pack on it. Plus, I have got a big day tomorrow; Tower of London, the Borough Market and "Antigone" at the Southwark Playhouse.
There are more photos below