Wednesday, September 22, 2010

London...days 6 and 7

So after staying up until well after 4am to watch the Colts annihilate the Giants on Sunday night football, I was prepared to spend a nice leisurely morning of sleeping in before heading back out onto the streets of London. My hotel, however, apparently had other plans for me.

Yup…that’s the entire hotel evacuated out onto the streets of London sometime around 10am after the fire alarm went off. Full evacuation too…complete with a visit from the Fire Brigade.

Guess it was a good thing I don’t sleep naked. That could have caused an international incident all on its own right there.

So after stumbling back upstairs, I figured it was as good a time as any to get up and moving for the day. Still a little tired from the whirlwind visit in Paris and having been rudely awakened after only 6 hours of sleep, what is there that could brighten a girl’s day?

Retail Therapy!!

Welcome to Harrods…over 1 million square feet of space in 5 stories with 330 departments of luxurious decadence, they carry only the highest quality brand name designers and goods. This homage to shopping is also home to 20 different restaurants…including a chocolate bar and champagne bar…

In addition to the usual clothing/jewelry and home goods departments, this place also has its own grocery store (called the “Food Halls”), bank, pharmacy and pet store. Imagine Wegmans meets Nordstroms meets Rodeo Drive meets CVS meets Petsmart. I actually overheard someone on the street asking about Harrods—inquiring as to what it is they have there. Well, after visiting, I can tell you that the question is not what Harrods has…but what they DON’T have. They have things there that you didn’t even know you needed!!

Matches my sparkly Ferrari!

Because who doesn't need speakers as tall as themselves at home?

Whatever happened to your basic Big Wheel??

It truly is a mind boggling experience. And I have to admit, when I first walked in, I was trying to imagine how I was going to get everything I was going to buy home with limited luggage space. But truly, by the time I walked out, I hadn’t bought anything to take home. There was just SO MUCH to consider, there wasn’t one single item I could decide on purchasing.

Wait…I take that back. I did end up spending money on lunch. And I finally got to have my first “official” cup of English tea.

As you can imagine, this entire shopping experience killed just about the entire day. Which worked out OK, because this place is also really cool looking at night.

Walking back to the hotel, I got a chance to hit some of the highlights all lit up at night.

Buckingham Palace

I was going to pop in to see if the Queen was in the mood for a chat, but I didn’t want to arrive unannounced. Oh well…maybe next time.

By the time I arrived back on The Strand, I was famished (tea will only get you so far, you know). But I realized that I just wasn’t in the mood for yet another sit-down restaurant style dinner. So…like any good American, I opted for the country’s finest cuisine…

Yeah, I did it. I broke down and had dinner at McDonald’s. What can I say? Sometimes you just want dinner out of a bag.

Now despite the fact that I was starting to feel a little punky—all that running around was starting to get at me—but knowing that I only had 2 nights left in London, I decided that it was a good night to hit the West End nightlife. As I mentioned a few posts back, however, there aren’t a lot of places that stay open past 11pm. Well…I managed to find one after all. And it was Heaven.

No, really. The name of the nightclub was Heaven. 5 different nightclubs in one fabulous underground location. I wound my way into the Secret Discotheque and danced my (still somewhat aching) feet into….oh….maybe 4:30 in the morning.

I finally awoke on Tuesday morning feeling absolutely miserable. Remember that mention a little while ago that I was feeling a little punky? Yeah…well apparently my immune system decided it’d had enough of the late nights and the running around all crazy, because I woke up to a full blown cold. Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching…I sounded like a commercial. My last full official day in London—and I end up spending most of it in bed trying to ingest as much cold medication as allowed so as to at least salvage the latter half of the afternoon.

(I will now spare you any further details of my cold and move straight to the latter half of the afternoon)

So today we venture back towards the Thames for a chance to ride The London Eye.

If you get a chance to ride this, I highly advise it. It really is a pretty amazing thing. The views are simply amazing! After a brief wait in line, you hop into a little capsule with about 9 or 10 other people. And just like the giant ferris wheel it is, you go once around—takes about 20-25 minutes for the entire cycle. From the capsule, you can see almost all of London:

And you’re waaaaaaaaay up there…

It was really very beautiful—especially at sunset.
After dinner, it was back to the hotel for packing and an early turn in. Tomorrow morning begins the long trek home. My flight leaves at 1pm Wednesday…and by my calculations, I actually won’t get back to LA until 7am London time on Thursday.

And here I thought the other night I was out too late.

Well…I guess as long as I have plenty of tissue, customs lets me back into the country, and if I can get some sleep when I get back, without another visit from the fire brigade…I think we’ll be all right.

Slightly delusional....but all right.