So we’ve all been asked to take a week off unpaid due to the recession. This is hard for a few people but for me however, I welcome the time off. So last week I took Thursday and Friday off and Mick and I headed over to London.
Actually, let me roll back a week to when I got the tickets. For some reason I decided to be a scatterbrain and leave getting the tickets until only a week before going. So when I went online to book the tickets, whaddya know—Ryanair had decided to triple the price! So we pushed the holiday out yet another week. We booked tickets for leaving Thursday afternoon and getting back Saturday evening about 10. When I got home and checked my calendar I realised I’d doubled booked over the Wolf Parade gig I already had tickets for on Saturday night. So I got back online again to book another flight home to make us arrive back in dublin in time for the gig. Only a 40 euro charge for the new flight. I didn’t bother cancelling the first flight home as there’s a 50 euro fee for cancellations or changes, but no fee if you just don’t show up…
So finally we arrive in London and get to the Royal Lancaster Hotel just at the edge of Hyde Park. We settled into our 16th floor room, took in the view and then headed out for dinner. After a bit of looking we ended up at Satsuma, a Japanese restaurant, which was okay. Then out for a drink and back to the room to get a good night sleep and up early the next day.
First thing Friday morning we headed over to Portobello Market to get breakfast. Lots of cool stuff there, but unfortunately, not a lot of food. We ended up getting some vegan pastries and had to balance them out with some German hotdogs and burgers (mmm breakfast). Then onward to our main attraction—The Natural History Museum. We spent a good few hours here and only got through about half of it. The highlights were the dinosaurs (duh!) and The Vault, I had no idea I liked jewels so much!
We then took a short stroll across the street to the Victoria & Albert Museum, we took one look at the map/floor plan and decided that it was far too big for us to tackle if we were ever going to get through our plans for the day. Back on the tube and on to Tate Modern. Gotta say I wasn’t impressed. I think I may just be burned out on modern art museums or perhaps it’s just because I was recently at MOMA and the Guggenheim in New York, which are hard to follow. At this point we were museumed-out. Back to the hotel for a rest up and then dinner. We were determined to find some good indian food. We headed to a recommended restaurant, only to realise it was Friday night and we’d never get in anywhere without reservations. We settled for Masala Zone a chain restaurant throughout London. The food was good, once again, nothing amazing but it did the job. To the PUB! the pub closed at 11…on friday…yeah. So, back to the HOTEL!
Up bright and early again on Saturday, backed our bag, dropped it off at Victoria Station and headed out to see the sites of london. We wondered over to Buckingham Palace where there were thousands of people staring at nothing. Then a stroll through St. James Park trying to avoid the savage pigeons and squirrels. Past big ben, over the river and to the Imperial War Museum. We were lucky cause while we were there a few vetrians from WWII were having a Q&A session. However we spent so much time listening to them that it didn’t leave any time to actually tour the museum as we were to meet up with Mick’s friend Colm for lunch. Luckily Colm worked just around the corner so we headed to his local and ended up drinking our lunch.
With a few pints in us, we headed back to Victoria station to collect our bag and get the train to Gatwick Airport. The time was tight, but we’d a half hour till our flight took off. We got to the Ryanair check-in desk just as your man was leaving. No luck, he wouldn’t let us check in. See, Ryanair actually count on people not making their flights, that’s the way they make their money. So there is no kindness in their hearts and they won’t make allowances. In fairness it was our own fault…actually I blame the beer.
Luckily, we still had our second, later flight booked. Only a 4 hour wait in the airport. Phone calls had to be made as, Aishling and Gudrun’s gig tickets were at my house, but it all got sorted in the end. We finally arrived home at 11pm which was far passed time to make the gig. Two lessons were learned: 1. Don’t go to the pub before a flight and 2. Never think Ryanair will be kind.
Overall though a very good few days and London has been redeemed on my list of places to visit.
A few pictures: