I did it! Yes, I was once again able to stay awake the whole day after arriving in London (or any international city, really) despite going on basically no sleep (other than a little dozing on the plane). I think I did an exceptional job of it this time as my London buzz only lulled once in the late afternoon. To be fair, that lull also coincided with an adult beverage I was having with some friends, so I’m sure the two things are linked. No matter though – I slept very well through the night and I’m now (hopefully) properly adjusted to the time change.
As far as first days go, yesterday was perfectly serviceable. I once again took the Underground from Heathrow into London (I just have a hard time paying the steep ticket prices for the Heathrow Express, though that’s definitely the most convenient option and I do recommend it) and then a train to Lewisham, from whence I hoofed it to my friend’s house. As I mentioned, my friend Bill from back home had flown in the day before, so he was at the house waiting for me, so no need for me to pick up keys from anyone. Perfect! After getting a bit settled into the house, I had a much-needed shower (it doesn’t matter how clean I feel when I get on a plane for a long flight because I always feel grimy afterwards), and then we went into the city.
You may have previously read briefly about The Shard in this blog. While I still stand by what I said in this post (cool building, but the entrance fee to the viewing deck is far too expensive – £31/$45 USD!), we decided that we would visit it anyway. The weather was sunny and mostly clear and we had talked about possibly visiting it, so we figured the weather wouldn’t get any better than it was yesterday, so we went for it. I must say, the views are spectacular, especially in the glorious (but often absent) sunshine. If you don’t mind shelling out the money for this one, I recommend it! If you book a ticket on their website more than 24 hours out, you can save £6/$9 USD and I’ve also heard LastMinute.com often has cheap tickets as well. So do some research and pre-planning to save yourself some money!
After the Shard, we met up with our friend Tony, who we know from various Doctor Who conventions, who was meeting with two friends of his. We had a nice time catching up with him and getting to know his friends! This is the time of day when my travel lethargy starting kicking in, but I’m happy to report I pushed through it and I was back up to 100% (okay, maybe 85%) by the time we left to catch dinner at Pizza Express. Yes, that’s a chain restaurant here, but I love their pizza, so I always eat at least one meal there when I’m in the UK. As usual, it was delicious!
The rest of the evening consisted of a quick trip to HMV to see if they had any great movie deals (they didn’t), a stop at Waitrose to pick up a few snacks and wish list items from friends back home, and a stop at Earl’s Court to visit the police box there. I say “visit” but we really just wanted a couple of pictures of it. 🙂 Although Bill was here last year, he only had time for our weekend in Brighton, so we didn’t get the chance to visit like we did in 2013. I’m always happy to make a quick connection to Doctor Who though!
I really love the way this picture turned out, but I’m annoyed the only way to take any pictures at the Shard is through glass. I realize the buildings is VERY tall and safety is a big concern, but it would be nice if there was a way to get better pictures!
Looking up at the top of the building from the “outer” observation deck. That’s a bit of a misnomer because it’s totally enclosed excepted for the roof, which is, as you can see, open to the top.
A shot of the London skyline featuring the 20 Fenchurch Street building (aka the Walkie Talkie).
A noir view of the city, including St. Paul’s Cathedral.
How about a selfie to break up the skyline pictures?
And yes, one last selfie. Apologies for the slightly crazy-looking eyes. I blame the jetlag.
The end of the beginning of another great UK trip! I somehow managed to stay up until nearly midnight without going delirious and had a great night’s sleep. I was thinking I would get up at 830a, but when I woke up at 730a and decided there was no rush, I went back to sleep until 915a. Bliss! We’ll shortly be heading to the train station for our trip to Brighton, where we’ll get to see lots of great friends and have fun at Timey Wimey 7.
See you in Brighton!