Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yeah baby! (189)

Here's a few pictures from our first day in London. We left SLC at 10:00 a.m. on Monday and flew to Cincinnati. That was around a 3+ hour flight. We had a 3 1/2 hour layover there and then flew on to London. We got there in around 6 1/2 hours. We tried to sleep during the flight, but it was pretty much impossible. We were flying into the sun and a new day the whole time. We arrived in London at 8:30 a.m. local time, Tuesday. That would be around 1:30 a.m. our time. We were pretty tired by the time we got there. We took a train from Gatwick International Airport to Victoria Station. We then used the Underground to get to the hotel. Thanks to all of Ryan's preparation and his ability to read maps and navigate well (I'm terrible at it) we found it very easily. The hotel had a "strict" (their words) check in time of 2:00 p.m. They were kind enough to allow us to leave our bags there, but wouldn't allow us in our room until that time. So, that was when the walking began. When we were finally able to check in, we took a short nap and then went back out until around 9:00 p.m. so that we could adjust to the time change.

London is a busy, vast place. The city seems to never end. Some of my first impressions and things I learned:

I'm usually right about everything. I've been here, so you can now consider me an authority. Just trust that everything on this list is correct. :0)

1. Everyone walks really fast and seems to be in a huge hurry. They're always going somewhere and I never really did figure out where.

2. The Underground is crowded. I would bet that at almost any given time, there's probably at least a half a million people using it. That may be a high number, but it sure seems like there's that many people there. #3 applies to all of the people on the Underground. Also, if they're not doing what's listed in #3, they're reading. Books, newspapers, business papers, etc. They're usually doing #3 and reading at the same time. There are people passing out free newspapers at every entrance to the Underground. I noticed that while on the train, when someone was finished, they would just put it on the window behind them and someone else would pick it up and read it. I was very impressed with all of the reading and their thirst for knowledge. Like, what was Posh doing at Fashion Week in New York. What kind of birthday party did Madonna throw for her husband, etc.

3. Everyone has an iPod or some other mp3 player in their ears at all times. Also, everyone is constantly using their cell phone in some way. Talking, texting, etc.

4. Everyone smokes. I'm going to apply this to all Europeans. It's my theory that as soon as they're born, they're given a cigarette to hold in one hand and an alcoholic beverage for the other. There wasn't anywhere that we went that we weren't surrounded by smoke. I was absolutely amazed by this. I mean, they were all walking everywhere and didn't seem to be winded at all. How do they do that with their diminished lung capacity? Maybe the walking counteracts the effects of the cigarettes. (I know this isn't true, but it sure seemed like it. I guess I've lived a sheltered existence in Utah with all of our Indoor Clean Air Acts and what not.)

5. I'm sure I'll remember some other things later.

Victoria Train Station

Taking a little rest on a park bench while waiting to check in to our hotel.

Parliament & Big Ben

Another view of Parliament

The London Eye. It's basically across the street from Parliament.

Ryan on the London Eye.

Westminster Abbey. We went on the tour the second day. Unfortunately, they don't allow pictures inside. So, outside is all we got.

This is another view of Parliament from the London Eye.