Roy Janik (zinereem) wrote,
Roy Janik

London Picture Post

We're still in London on our honeymoon, and now that Kaci's recovered from the flu or whatever it was she had, we're having a grand ole time. Basically we've been seeing a lot of theatre and going to museums, but since you can't take pictures inside, you'll just have to use your imagination. So far we've seen Oliver!: The Musical, WarHorse, and 39 Steps. Still to go on the agenda: Love's Labours Lost at the Globe and Billy Elliot. And maybe something else, who knows.

I know Kaci looks lost in this photo, but getting around London is stupidly easy. Or at least, so far it is. Now granted, we've more or less stuck to the West End, but as far as we can tell, the London Underground will get you anywhere you want to go. And failing that, buses are everywhere.

A few nights ago (honestly, time has lost all meaning), Kaci and I booked a romantic river cruise on the Thames that featured a fancy dinner, site-seeing, a live jazz band, and an after-dinner dance party. The dinner was indeed romantic, but also hilarious, as you might expect. Like when they announced that it was our honeymoon, and the waiter ran out with a giant sparkler/flare that is surely illegal in the U.S. and Kaci screamed "Honeymoon 2009!!!", or when the voice over the loudspeaker declared "Ladies and Gentlemen, the MAGNIFICENT TOWER BRIDGE!", the lights went out, "God Save the Queen" (or something like it) blared, and the boat started spinning in circles. The bridge, though, was magnificent. The promised "dance party" wasn't really happening, so Kaci and I started it off like fools. It turns out that if you actually wanted to dance, you were in the way of everyone who was a waiter or needed to go to the toilet. But we danced our hearts out.

Oh yeah, speaking of, despite what you've heard about "the loo" or the "W.C" restrooms are called toilets here. I always feel vaguely dirty when I hear someone ask where the toilet is.

Here's the London Eye, as seen from the boat. We haven't ridden it yet, though I hear it's worth it. The rotation takes 30 minutes and costs a fortune, but maybe we'll do it anyways.

Yesterday (I think) we went on a super-long bus tour to Stonehenge, The City of Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon. It felt good to hit the countryside, which was gorgeous. Stonehenge was neat, but you understandably couldn't get close enough to it to really appreciate it. I thought briefly about making a wish and throwing a quarter at it, but ultimately decided that would be in poor taste.

Bath and S-upon-A were both extremely pleasant and interesting. I wanted a lot more time in both, but since we were on a schedule, we only got like an hour in each. Both places were cozy, idyllic English worlds just made for strolling around. We visited the ancient ruins of the Roman bath in Bath, and it rekindled my fascination with the ancient world. My favorite thing was the display of metal "curses" people would throw into the bath.. basically little engraved bits of nastiness accusing enemies of wrongdoing and asking the goddess Minerva to exact her revenge upon them. "Please destroy whomever stole my nice cloak. Here is a list of likely people: Barcuss, son of Ballius..." Congratulations, Claudia. This is what you're remembered for.

In Stratford-Upon-Avon it was, of course, all Shakespeare all the time. But kudos to the city for being a tourist town without feeling cheesy or too commercial. It was lovely, you could rent boats, and all the houses and cottages of Shakespeare and his relatives were preserved and run as museums. We visited his birthplace. The house was an interesting mix of authenticity, invention, and likely guesswork.

The other thing we encountered that I've decided is a common feature of British museums is that a portion of the museum is set aside to talk about the history of the museum itself. I mean, the birthplace of Shakespeare has been run as a museum for over a hundred years at least, so there's history just in that.

One thing I try to do in any city I visit is to find a place that sells Magners. Magners is an Irish cider that I grew addicted to when I went to Ireland. And just the fact that I can't get it in Texas has made me obsessed with it. It can basically be found in the US if you happen to be in a city that has a large Irish immigrant population, or if you just happen to be lucky. In London, it's everywhere... Both as Magners and as Bulmers, the name it's called in Ireland. Some places carry both, and they're identical. There's also a new Magners/Bulmers Pear Cider, and I can confirm that it's delicious. So yeah, I've basically been drinking it like water. SO WHAT.

Today we also found the Texas Embassy. The Texas Embassy, it turns out, is a cantina serving steak, chicken-fried steak, and tex-mex food. We didn't go inside, because the universe would have exploded. There was even a UT flag on the 2nd floor.

This is the face Kaci makes when doing a cockney accent, which thanks to being in London, she has perfected. See, I told you we were doing Dickens research, you jerks.

The hotel we're staying at, Swissotel: The Howard, is highly recommended. When they clean our room, they pay super close attention to detail. When Kaci was sick, not only did they put a box of tissues in our room, but they also rinsed out her plastic Nyquil cup and placed it back next to the bottle. Yesterday they decided that our toothbrushes and toothpaste should be placed on a napkin. Today they provided an extra glass and put them in that. Both are acceptable solutions.

Kaci bought a stuffed animal (an elephant) the other day. Today they put him in her airport pillow so that he was sitting upright on the bed. 

The picture above, though, demonstrates when they go overboard. They offer a "turn-down" service where they come in while you're away and do-up the bed for sleepy-time. We asked for it one night, but apparently they interpreted that to mean "every night". The first night when we got back there was toblerone chocolate on our pillows. I wolfed mine down. I don't think Kaci ate hers. Every night since, two more toblerone bars await us. Even though we still obviously haven't eaten ours from the night before.

So anyhow, we're having a wonderful time in London.

Ladies and Gentlmen, this is my wife... my grinning, playful goofball of a wife. I couldn't be happier being with her.

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