Trip to London: painfully fun

Good friends

Sandra and I as stereotypical tourists at Buckingham palace

Last weekend I had the joy of playing the tourist in London and experience again how vibrant this big city is. We were lucky and could enjoy very nice weather and walk all over the place: Notting Hill and the colorful market in Portobello Road, Oxford Street (and no we didn't shop !), Baker Street and neighbourhood, The West End, Westminster, walks along the Thames from Westminster up to the Tower Bridge etc to enjoy the Thames festival last weekend, ...

snooping around at Portobello Road

The week before I was already in bed to late and had been struggling with fatigue. I finally seemed to have caught up again by Friday but on Saturday we had to get up quite early to leave for London. Sandra stayed at our place in Leuven and due to the new bed, streetnoise etc she didn't get a good night of sleep either. So after quite some hours of sightseeing and walking, both Sandra and I dozed off in the metro much to Jan's amazement . A bit later we had to admit to our own surprise that we were both getting a slight headache..... which got a lot worse for both of us. We were really greatful to get back in the appartment in the evening and while Jan had to work a little bit to fix an unexpected problem, we took the opportunity to take a nap and a headache painkiller. Boy by that time my headache was killing me and I was freezing. Soon after I had got up to get a sweater on, Sandra did the same. Eery how we both felt the same symptoms around the same time!!!!! And we both had a blister!!!!! Fancy that????

Another stereotypical tourist picture...but a very nice one don't you think?

Anyway the nap and medicins did their work and we could go out to the West End for a delicious Perzian meal. Mmmm. And a belly dancer!

Needless to say that we all slept like roses and fresh and happy we headed out on Sunday again to check out the sunny Thames festival. They really made a nice walk all along the Thames and this time it was filled with people , "live statues", some musicians and booths selling stuff. On bigger squares there was music or theatre. Fun time out in the sun!

me hugging a sculpture (which was hot in the sun)

Some performances

What would Jan do without Starbucks or Nero's or ... other coffeeshops?

We also had the chance to quickly get a glance at Jan's new appartment. He is moving on Wednesday to a new appartment. His roommate seemed quite nice actually, we only met 1 of them.

We had a good Japanese meal in China town, way too much, before we went to see the closing fireworks for the Thames festival. That was in fact very disappointing. Fireworks in Belgium usually last for at least 15 minutes, but here we hardly had 10 minutes of which there were 5 minutes of low phantasy lacking flairs going up with a little "poof". Then all of a sudden about 30 fireworks exploded at the same time in a big chaos as if they ran out of time and quickly launched all the remaining ones. I believe there were actually some nice ones in there but they all exploded so quickly one after another that you could not enjoy then really. It was quite spectacular to see so many of them going up, but it's no fun if it ends after 1 minute. Pff why did they not spread them out more? Very weird. I guess Jan and Sandra's remark must be true that Belgium and the Netherlands (and Asia of course )are very much known for their excellent firework factories and that we are very much spoiled. I sure had much higher expectations of fireworks in the big trendy city of London. I remember being quite disappointed at New Year in Edinburgh as well. Pfff boring and extremely short!

That night we slept extremely well again with very very sore feet full of blisters and an aching back of walking so much. Gosh, are we getting that old or are we so out of shape?

Monday was a long day where I got to meet Jan's colleagues after Sandra took the train back to Belgium. On a sort of office party, we went to the Kempton horse races. Well... I enjoyed the chuckwagon races at the Calgary stampede much more I must say, much more excitement and action. I'd like to give a suggestion to the organisers of the race not to wait 30 minutes between each race, although maybe that time is needed to analyse all given data in magazines to place a bet.

This horse actually won the race and we had a bet on it....yeaaaah (the only one we won)

After the races we had a dinner and spent another long time in the bar. I must admit I did not always feel very much at ease among all these "stranger" who kept much to my frustration having conversations about work, English football and other subjects I could rarely take part in. Very tough for someone like me who already has a hard time making conversation with strangers. Oh well, next time I meet Jan's colleagues i'll already know them a bit!


Anonymous said…
Well, my first impression of London: NOISY. My second,little boxes. There is no space anywhere, although to give the poms their due, they do allocate green spaces, where there are parks and benches which allow you to sit outside, eat your lunch (quickly before the pigeons grab hold of it), and inhale the wonderful scents of the big city smoke, diesel, huge Limousine London vehicles, dust and the wonderful aroma of the Thames River!! We went on the London Eye, which is this huge Ferris wheel thing. From it you can see most of London and the surrounding areas. It is bloody high, and it seems jumping off the Gouritz bridge (Western Cape, South Africa) has done little to allay my fear of heights. It was quite spectacular though.
Thanks for the wonderful blog, Keep up the great work!

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