So much to see – London

If you have been following the saga, I have been in Europe for a week so far, and had a weekend to spend in London.  I have been to the UK many times, but usually I just fly in and then grab a {car|train|cab} to some city away from London (usually Cambridge or Oxford). This time I arrived at noon on Saturday, and will be here until Monday afternoon when I grab a train to Oxford.

I am staying south of central London near the Thames. Great location. I did a major amount of walking today, and saw a lot of sights.

St. James Park – Really cool place. About 10 minutes from my Hotel. Beautiful grounds, lots of waterfowl, and government buildings all around. Very scenic and fun.

Buckingham Palace – Got to watch the changing of the guard. Very picturesque, and fun.

War Memorials – Lots of these sprinkled around. Sobering, somber, and interesting.

Hyde Park – Bigger park. There was a foot race, so lots of runners out. Cool statues, a nice waterway, and the Italian Gardens are cool.

Prince Albert Hall. Really cool building. Great architecture. Which lead to …

Royal College of Music – literally it was about 200 yards behind it.

Lots of people in expensive cars – Saw a Maybach, a couple of Bentleys, at least three Ferrari’s (including an F40), and a McLaren. Clearly people here have a LOT of money. Certainly can’t get them out of 1st gear in the traffic, even on a Sunday.

Natural History Museum – I went inside. Really cool exhibits, well laid out, and exhausting. The British Natural History museum is a good visit.

Long walk back along the Thames. I probably should have grabbed a bus or the tube, but it was a gorgeous day, and I enjoyed the walk.  Altogether, I probably logged 12 – 13 miles today, and I am exhausted. Not sure what I will do for dinner yet, but I will find something.

I did look at the cost of some flats here. I thought San Jose and the peninsula was expensive. Ha ha ha. Here you have to make investment banker money to buy a flat or an apartment. A nice one was 5,750,000 pounds sterling (about $9.4M at today’s exchange rate). All for about 2500 sqft. But you would get to live in Central London…

European Travel Log – London

Quick Edit: I forgot how awesome it is to have yummy Ale served at the “proper” British temperature. ‘Muricans just don’t get proper ales.

The Austria and Germany portions of this trip went well. Successful demos and sales training. Today I moved to London for a couple days before heading to Yarnton for a seminar on Tuesday.

I am staying near Waterloo on Lambeth road at the Novotel. Pretty awesome location, near a shitload of great sights and things to do.

The weather is a LOT warmer than I expected. 50F here this afternoon. I almost was too warm with my winter coat on. Traffic wasn’t too bad, it is a Saturday after all. I got to the hotel about 1:30 and headed out for a stroll.

The London EyeI thought I might enjoy doing the London Eye. Um, holy cow, the line for that makes Disneyland seem barren. Even the “Fast Pass” line is oppressively long. I didn’t even look up how much it costs. Took a few pics and walked by.

The Parliment building is cool, and recognizable, and listening to Big Ben chime the hours was fun. I expected there to be more boating traffic on the Thames.

Lots to see and do. Of course, it isn’t all unicorns and chocolate.

Novotel hotels used to be nice. This one is not cheap ($250 a night US) and you get almost no amenities. Yes, there is free internet, but it must be a 128K fram relay line for all the free users to share. I lasted about 10 minutes before I caved in and bought the upgraded internet. BReakfast isn’t included (a rarity in Europe), and for $32US I will walk down to a bakery for a pastry and a coffee, thankyouverymuch. But, it is in a great, convenient location.

Cabs – I love the charming “black” cabs, and I got a chatty driver. Took about 15 minutes to drive to the hotel from Paddington station. Yes, I could have done it via tube, but I would have made a lot of mistakes and it would have taken me an hour or more to figure it out. So I cabbed it. Cash only (which will make it tough to expense), and 17 pounds. Yikes. I have to remember that it is ~ $1.80 to 1 pound.

Heathrow Express. An absolute joy. Certainly cheaper than a car, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to take my credit card. So another 21 pounds flew out of my limited stash. At this rate, I will be eating McDonalds for all three meals by Monday. (I think I was just using a bad ticket kiosk)

Tomorrow I will walk the royal gardens, go to the natural history museum, stroll the riverfront, drink a few pints at a public house, and explore the tubes.

Mind the gap!

Monday I head up to Oxford for a day, then back to London (for a much cheaper hotel), and day trips for the rest of the week.