London Blog Pt. 9 - "The day I 'broke' Cindy"
Biggest lesson learned from today: When a friend is flying in for a conference in Oxford the next day but says she wants to spend the afternoon dashing around London after 24+ hours of being awake (with only a few hours sleep from the night before due to excitement)...tell her she's half crazed from lack of sleep, take her to Oxford yourself, and park yourselves in a cozy coffee shop until it's time for her to check in.
Otherwise you might break your friend. Because that's kind of what I did. :/ Sorry Cindy!
Fortunately, despite "breaking" her, she still had a good time. I mean, we're in London! Of course we were going to have a good time!
So here's a recap of the mad adventure that was yesterday (July 17th):
First off, I overslept. I'm not used to waking up by a specific time since being on vacation and I needed to leave the flat by no later than 8am to try to get to Heathrow around the time that Cindy would be getting to Arrivals. I got the the Tube in time for rush hour, which was really bad from Liverpool Street Station by the flat. The platform was packed and every train that came by was full, only allowing a few people, if even, through each door. It was also very hot and stifling, no air circulating at all. Behind me there were some Underground employees helping a young woman who looked like she must have passed out from the heat and hit her head. It took 3 trains coming and going before I was finally able to board the 4th, only to have it held on the track due to a passenger alarm having been pulled further down the line. Probably someone else getting overheated on the train. Then during an announcement for a service updated I heard that another line was stopped because of a person under the train. All in all, a pretty grim rush hour. :(
We finally got moving and fortunately the Piccadilly Line was a bit less packed than the Central Line and the further out of the city center we got the more comfortable the ride became. Eventually we popped back above ground and I was able to text Cindy to let her know I was late and more than an hour after leaving the flat I finally got to the airport. I made the hike from the Underground to arrivals at Terminal 3 (new experience) and found Cindy waiting for me (so great to see her!!!!). We headed down to the Underground and topped up my Oyster and got her a day pass and then headed to the platform. We were waiting for the train when...wait for it...the alarm starts to go off along with an announcement to evacuate the station immediately! Seriously?!
So, we made our way back upstairs and ended up in the bus station. We got some coffee at Caffe Nero and waited a bit before going to check and finally being able to board. Eventually we made it to the flat but in the process Cindy got to experience the heat wave London is having. We attempted to cool off at the flat for a bit and then headed over to Covent Garden.
Once there we stopped for lunch at one of my favorite places, the Rock & Sole Plaice for the best fish and chips you will ever taste. At least that's according to my friend's husband over here. He's done the exhaustive testing, I just take his word for it. But it's always been so good I've never been tempted to go elsewhere.
Then we went into the massive Apple Store to run an errand and then to Ted Baker just for fun. They're having an awesome sale (I may have bad luck with weather but I have great luck with sales!) and I found the most divine handbag. It's brown leather with a crocodile imprint, two hinge handles and a long shoulder strap. It will be great for school this fall!
After our little bit of shopping we went down and walked along the river for a little bit before realizing that we should probably get her to Paddington Station before rush hour. So we went back to the flat to get Cindy's bags and headed to the train station. By this point it was hot, stuffy, and Cindy had been up for more than 24 hours. We got to the station and I saw her get on the train but I'm pretty sure I broke her in the process. She's a rock star for wanting to hang out in London with me after being up for so long!
I got an iced mocha from the Starbucks at Paddington before heading back to the Tube. I should have got a latte, I thought the Starbucks at home put too much chocolate in their mochas! This was crazy! Super chocolate and not necessarily in the best way. At least, it wasn't very refreshing. But I made it back to Liverpool Street Station alright and popped into a WHSmith for some magazines and treats, as well as a large bottle of Evian. I was feeling very dehydrated.
I met Alicia and her mom back at the flat where we had dinner and then chatted late into the evening. Which is easy to do considering it doesn't get dark until 10pm here.
It was a long day but fun. I broke Cindy but she forgives me. And karma is crazy because I think I might have also broken myself. I woke up with a scratchy throat. :( I've been drinking the emergency supply of Emergen-C that I packed with me and I have an extra supply of the nasal steroid and antibiotics from my doctor just in case. But I'm desperately hoping that I've just picked up a small summer cold and it will be gone before I go home. Or that I'm not even sick just a bit dehydrated from yesterday. Well, I can dream can't I? *sigh*
Ok, enough of my jabbering. Here's a few pics from my iPhone.
|Our amazing lunch!|
|Walking along Embankment. You can see the London Eye to the left and Big Ben and Parliament just to the right of the middle of the picture.|
|This looks like such a fun place to eat!|
|Looking across the Thames to the OXO Tower.|
|Sun through the trees.|
|After dropping of Cindy, I ran into Paddington Bear! :)|
|Waiting for the Tube.|
|Stopped at WHSmith and finally got myself some Strawbs. :)|
|UK mags come in "travel size" and with free L'Occitane products. Score!|