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London

Written on: Saturday July 14th, 2007

A journal entry from: England (and Paris!)

We spent four nights in London. On Saturday evening, we caught the Great Western train from Bristol back to London. For our first night there, we stayed with my old roommate Christiane and her fiance Alex at their flat just off Portobello Road in Notting Hill. They had just purchased a gas BBQ for their patio and Alex christened it by grilling our dinner on it that night. They had also just purchased an air mattress for us to sleep on. It turned out to be a bit complex to inflate, but it was a great sleeping surface.

We woke up on Sunday morning and attempted to take a shower, but Hayden and I couldn't figure out how to turn on the hot water, so we skipped bathing (no worries, the hot water actually does work, Christiane knows the trick!). Next we all headed off for brunch with some of Christiane's friends and also Josh & Claire (our hosts for the remainder of our stay in London). We ate at the Lazy Daisy Cafe on Portobello Road. They had great food and let us linger for as long as we wanted.

Next we headed over to Josh and Claire's place just off Kensington High Street. After dropping off our bags, we took a stroll around their neighborhood, stopped for a pint at a pub, then had dinner at an Indian restaurant near their flat. Miguel stopped by towards the end of our meal and then we dragged him back to Notting Hill so I could have one last drink with Christiane before she left on a business trip to Kiev the next morning.

On Monday, Hayden and I woke up and did a bit of work before heading to breakfast. We then spent the afternoon strolling through London's West End and checking out all the tourist spots. We finished up by meeting two of Hayden's college friends (Warren and Gemma) for dinner at a restaurant near Picadilly Circus.

On Tuesday, Josh worked from home and took us to breakfast before Hayden and I headed over to the London Eye, which is a very large observation wheel (similar to a ferris wheel) with magnificent views of London. Next we quickly visited the science museum which was having a special exhibit on plastics (which turned out to not be as interesting as we had hoped). We finished up with a nice meal with Josh and Claire at a pub near their flat. But before that...

On Tuesday evening we had drinks at the American Embassador's house to celebrate this year's crop of Kennedy Scholars (Hayden was one during his first year of grad school). The house was pretty cool, and apparently it has one of the largest gardens in London (second only to Buckingham Palace!). The interior of the house was American colonial style with a sprinkling of modern art (that didn't really blend at all). We stayed there for a couple hours tasting millions of appetizers and guzzling free drinks. It was quite an experience!

Wednesday was our last day in London. We had hoped to wake up early enough to visit the Tate Museum, but it didn't happen. However, we did encounter some art on the way to Waterloo Station to catch our train to Paris. An artist had installed several metal statues on the tops of buildings near Waterloo Station, all were pointed towards the Hayward Gallery nearby.