In London Calling Part One, I left off when we arrived at the airport in London at midnight. And we were there for at least another hour waiting for a driver that never showed. Because of course that apartment we found on the internet in zone 1 and rented for the week was a scam. And no, I didn't forget to pack our toothbrushes. But that's when I realized what I did forget to pack was even worse, the ADD meds. Now you're asking, are you kidding me? No. I wish I was. Welcome to international travel Loerzel style.
We scrambled to find a hotel at o'ridiculously early in the morning. One would hope that the kids would sleep in, but they didn't. Thank god, because we payed a shit-load for those rooms and we were not going to miss recouping some of our money by gorging at the inclusive breakfast bar. We'll go broke if we stay in hotels all week. So we frantically started apartment hunting. On-line. By phone. And when we didn't find anything by the extened check out time we just took to walking around the city to find another hotel for the night. After we put the kids to bed in the basement apartment of a non-smoking hotel (that strangely had the pungent odor of cigarette smoke coming in through the vents), the phone rang. It was Tom.
Let me recap. We travelled on the puke plane with jerky British guy, got scammed by Tammy (who the kids refered to for the rest of the trip as Scammy Tammy), forgot the ADD meds, lost a whole day trying to get an apartment, spent a lot of our budget on two nights of hotel rooms and now we're probably going to get lung cancer from the last one too. So, things haven't been going so well.
Tom had an apartment available for a reasonable price in zone 2. Zone 2 I said! We were more than a little skeptical. We wouldn't give him anything more than a promise to meet him at the apartment in the morning to check it out. After all, this could be Con-y Tommy. But, he wasn't. And we took it. And he told us about Guy Fawkes Day the celebration of Guy Fawkes traitorous attempt on the life of King James back in 1605. Of course I didn't know that then. All I knew was it was at the local park that evening and they light a huge bon fire,shoot fireworks and blow things up. Cool. I think we'll call him Tom the bomb now.
And what's the perfect accompaniment to arson? Mulled wine. And let me tell you at this point we desperately needed some wine, whether it was hot, cold, spiced or drunk out of a paper bag.
Let me back track. I forgot to tell you I met Muriel, an on-line bloggy friend who lives in London, that day at Tate Britain for coffee. We had never met in person before and she was perfectly lovely. And then she showed us Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. I wish we had more time to chat. I also neglected to tell you about the produce-gasm I had at the grocery store where they had clean, bagged lettuce and berries! The kids laughed at me as I cried in pure joy in the middle of the aisle at the Tesco. And yes, they were embarrassed.
The next day we hit the Imperial War Museum, Kensington Park and Foyles, a huge bookstore where I subsequently had a book-gasm. Don't worry, the kids did too, so they weren't embarrassed at all.
The next day we took the train to Bath to see the Roman baths. Remember how I forgot those ADD meds? Let's just say that added a whole other level of challenge to the tour of the baths and to the week. And that next time we do a tour like this I'll just start with and they'll be quiz when we're done. Should you fail this quiz, you will write me a paper. A very long, very detailed paper.
Now normally I do not check my e-mail on vacation. But I did. One was from the school, which is why I don't usually check e-mail while away. But, the other one was from my big brother, Jim. He's an airline pilot. Guess where he is going to be for just one night? Dat-da-da.....London! Today! We e-mail him our cell number because his cell phone doesn't work internationally, so he can call us once he reaches the hotel.
So we head out for the day and see Buckingham Palace.
No phone call from my brother.
Our friends Claire and Keith and their kids are back in London and we meet for lunch at the Natural History Museum.
No phone call.
We go ice skating.
Still no phone call...
We head back to the apartment and there's an e-mail from my brother. The flight was delayed two hours, he slept for a couple of hours after he arrived and then he tried to call us, but it wouldn't go through. Are you kidding me? We haven't seen each other in like 3 years and now we're actually in the same city, but have missed each other? This sucks!
I don't think I like London.
Can this trip be saved? Stay tuned for the next installment of London Calling...
TRAVEL TIP: If you need an apartment in London we would highly recommend contacting Tom (the bomb) Nicholson with Fixed Rent. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell at 07791 954719