Monday, March 17, 2014

London adventures: day 2

Oh my goodness.   This city.  It's crazy and amazing all at the same time.

Even though today I headed to work for the majority of the day, I still got to see what I felt like was a lot of the city and do some exploring after work too.  It was great!

Highlights from Day 2:
- Apparently the Starbucks lady just has never ever heard the name "Brittany" before.  Today I was "Bunny", yesterday I was "Berny".  I want to go back tomorrow morning just to see what she writes!!

- I successfully made it to the office, but apparently got there far too early because very few people were there yet.  In our Lenexa office, most days if I arrive at 7:30, I'm the last one in the finance department there.  I didn't get there until 7:45 because I wasn't sure, but most people didn't get there until 8:00 or 8:30.  However, I liked the quiet time in the morning because the rest of the day was CRAZY with meeting with folks and requests, etc.  Busy week over here!!

- The busy work day didn't stop people from having great conversations though and getting to know me.  The people were SO nice!  Lots of folks came up and introduced themselves to me, especially if I had emailed them before, and it was nice to get to meet people face to face.

- They were also all very curious as to my nighttime plans.  I wasn't sure - so the sweet office manager that has helped with all my travel plans gave me some ideas!  She suggested going to the London Eye and then I mentioned Buckingham Palace - so we mapped out the route and she gave me a transportation card to get around, which was great.  At the last minute, a colleague suggested I take the ferry versus the tube at rush hour (he even told me I could get a "baby on board" sticker so I could always sit down - ha!  So the ferry it was (minus the baby on board sticker).  It was so cool and very relaxing just getting on a boat, sitting down and enjoying the ride.  They even had a bar on board - so maybe next time I come back I can enjoy in come cocktails!

Left: the boat itself - very cool!  Right: The view of my office building from the river - great view!
Below: on the ferry - very spacious and CLEAN!  I was impressed at how efficient it all was too!

As I was approaching my stop - got to see some pretty cool sites!  Big Ben and a view of the London Eye.  The original plan was to buy a ticket and go ride the eye (they said it's about 30 minute long ride around).  However, after I stood in a long line to buy a ticket, I heard someone mention the line to get on was another 30 that point it would likely be dark and I really wanted to see the views of London in the light.  So I made a last minute call - jumped out of line and went off on a walk to Buckingham Palace.  I'm going to buy London Eye tickets online for Wednesday night to ensure it's not dark!

But first, I grabbed a quick selfie with David Beckham!

Just another gorgeous view

Thames River view

London eye

Another picture of me! ha!
 - I made my way through the busy sidewalks of London just amazed at all the sights.  And all the people!  Everyone walking to and from work and some tourists stopping to take pictures.  I kept wondering all the time I was walking how many people just take their walk for granted everyday walking by these AMAZING sites and historical monuments.  I would guess it would become just ordinary, which is crazy that these things ever could!

- I finally passed a telephone booth!  Loved it!

- On my walk to Buckingham Palace, I walk the length (and pretty much all the way around) St. James park.  Which was gorgeous and the flowers sure made it feel like spring had sprung!!!  It was much cooler tonight, but I had a light coat on and I was very comfortable!

- I finally arrived at Buckingham Palace and unfortunately, it's not daylight savings time over here yet (unfortunately for my tourist stuff, however, fortunately because that means I'm just a 5 hour time difference from home versus 6), so it did start to get dark faster than I thought.  I did get some good up close views, but not the best pictures.  It was so cool walking around it and the circle in front of it!

- I really wanted to know who was in this car!  How fun they were driving right into the Palace!!!

- I had my route back to the Tube mapped out already and took a long walk through the Mall - caught a cool glimpse of the London Eye at night too!

A building on the mall
 - Then I made it to a VERY busy part of London called Trafalgar Square that was in full swing!  People were everywhere getting to and from work and the pubs and sites.  It was very fun! I do want to try to make it back there and go tot the National Portrait Gallery because I have heard great things. I did love all the traffic and all the very English buses!!

- Then I started getting hungry.  yes, I still only have my American Express, so the first few places that looked cool that I stepped into didn't take it - so I walked right back out.  But lucky for me that happened because I found this delicious Mexican place with food inspired from Mexico City called Lupita and it was DELICIOUS!!  Even better, they had free wi-fi AND a sticker that they took American Express right on the front door!  My kind of place!

- My food was delicious!  I got this appetizer with guacamole, queso and some other sauce and fresh corn chips and it was delicious (luckily I was able to restrain myself and only eat the top portion of chips that were covered!) and then I got their shrimp tacos which were AMAZING!!  Highly recommend them.  It was also my first time eating at a restaurant alone and it was pretty cool.  I couldn't actually get the wifi to work, so I spent time going over the map, the tube map and just people watching out the window!  Sometimes, you need some alone/quiet time!

- then it was finally time for me venture home and I was off to get on the tube for the first time!  I was so excited (and don't worry, Jimmy - even though it was dark the streets were FULL of people and I was safe, I promise!)

The tube was VERY clean!
 - I did make a rookie mistake and turned the wrong way getting out of my tube stop - which just led me in a little longer route back to my apartment.  However, I have to say, the "long" way view, wasn't too bad at all getting an up close view of the Tower Bridge.  I'll take it!!

Now my goal is to attempt to lay down and wait until I can FaceTime with my men when they get home from work/school (6:00 their time, 11:00 my time!).  Luckily, Charlie was a bit more interactive on FaceTime last night before I went to bed, so hoping he will be again tonight too and I'll get some laughs out of him!!!

PS - my favorite English thing today was that I overheard these two people at work talking about something and when they got it resolved, one yelled, "cheers, mate" to the other.  Um, that's amazing.  I find myself talking like them in my head, but know it just sounds like rubbish if I actually said it out loud.  Or typed it....

Oh and don't worry - even though Jimmy didn't send me any pictures of Charlie today (just FaceTimed for a while like night), his school sent me TWO!  Poor guy - they said he was a bit "off" today when Jimmy picked him up and he said - well, his mom is in Europe and they said, yep that would do it!  Don't worry sweet boy, I'll be home soon!!

Concentrating on his lego tower!

Apparently he was getting a little sleepy during lunch time :)  So cute!

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