Saturday, December 22, 2007
London Calling - Day 5
We met Cecile and Greg at the Earl's Court station at 10 am. Once everyone was situated at the hotel, we took a train to Notting Hill's famous Portabello Road shopping market. Although a bit of a tourist trap, it was well worth seeing. The neighborhood is made up of candy colored houses with vines climbing towards the sky, that are set on serpentine roads winding in and out of each other. We started our meandering at Notting Hill Gate where street vendors were chock full of silver trays and teapots, handmade leather bound books, Russian dolls, and pocketwatches. I bought a small book for a few pounds, and we continued on past George Orwell's house (which only Cecile saw the tiny plaque for). As we continued down the road, the pricey antiques gave way to more affordable shopping, followed by numerous fruit, hot food, and flower stands. We stopped into a pub for a pint of Kronenburg white, and then continued on past the jewelry and tshirt stands to the tube station. We took the train to Knightsbridge to see Harrod's in the daylight, and were greeted with 20 tree hugging hippies protesting Harrod's for their inhumane selling of fur. After pushing past a hippie in a tiger suit passing out pictures of slaughtered animals, we entered Harrod's. The store was like a huge palace, decked out with marble floors, chandeliers, brightly painted egyptian statues, and memorial fountains for Dodi and Princess Diana. I seperated from the pack in order to fufill my dream of peeing in Harrod's. Finding the bathroom proved to be a difficult task, as I went up several floors, made a left turn at a rack of Dolce caftans, and finally asked someone where the lou was. Five minutes later, my dream was deferred no longer, and I felt no more need to spend time in Harrod's looking at overpriced everything. If finding the bathroom was a difficult task, then finding the way back out to the street was a nightmare. After circling the skincare department three times, and getting lost in the beautiful and expansive dining halls, I found my motley crew of hippies and almost cheered and joined them! Next we took the subway to London Bridge to visit a Christmas shop that Greg wanted to see. We wandered around an outdoor mall with a curved glass ceiling, and ate a light meal of bagel sandwiches. Next, we took the subway to Westminster and snapped a few incredible pictures of Big Ben and the houses of Parliment at night. We then made our way back to the hotel, where I accidentally napped while everyone else went out to Picadilly Circus. In the end I'm thankful I didn't go. Since it's close to the holidays and emotions are running high, some poor soul alone on this Saturday night before Christmas, decided to throw himself under the train, halting all service on the Picadilly line. Steve, Greg, and Cecile had to endure a death march back to the hotel. Steve got back to the room around 11:30 pm and woke me up. I was starving since I didn't really eat much, and decided to go out hunting for food. Earl's Court is usually a bustling center of life, however at this point in the night, EVERYTHING was closed! I saw a beacon of golden arches off in the distance and found that Mc"Donald's was open until 1 am. I begrudgingly ordered chicken nuggets and ate them back at the hotel, while Steve talked in his sleep. "Come in...close the door...hahahahaha.....YEAHHHHHH!"