London with Monster
Roswitha and Monster
We had breakfast in our Prague hotel, then caught an early cab to the airport. EasyJet flight boarding was a mad rush, but the flight was uneventful. Of course, everything was charged for, and they charged CK300 for each kg over the limit, so 3 kg cost about $60.
The train from STN to Chingford was painless, and Julie picked us up (thanks!) and explained the house that we're exchanging—the family is using ours in California for two weeks while we use theirs for about one week. We met most of the six cats as they paraded through to check us out and see if we were bearing food. We settled in to the house, checked email, and then walked into town for shopping, and lunch at France Delice: sandwiches and a tart.
Roswitha tries to board the Hogwarts Express
We then took the train to Walthamstow Central (or, as we've started to call it Waltham Mews Shire on the Green), then the Tube to Knightsbridge and Harrods, with a stop along the way in King's Cross Station to check out Platform 9¾. It was very crowded; we strolled through, saw the food stalls, the pet area (where Hillary wanted lots of outfits for Winston, her tiny dog), and the Egyptian escalators.
Sushi! On boats!
In Harvey Nichols we ate some sushi at Yo! Sushi; this was Hillary's first time with sushi boats. (Isn't this just what travel is about—new experiences? Like Americans eating boat sushi in London.)
On the Eye
Roswitha had made reservations for the London Eye. We rode to the nearest Tube station, and then tried to find our way there; it's not obvious, even when there is this huge wheel visible over the tree tops. But, we made it, and smoothly made our way on board for our "flight." In the rain, but it was just a usual London rain, not very hard, so we could still see a fair distance.
We then worked our way back to Chingford. The house is about a 30 minute walk from the station but we figured out which bus stopped closest. Still, having no car, transportation was clearly going to be a challenge, and expensive. We got the Oyster Card, which optimizes cost within a certain region, but the stretch between Chingford and Walthamstow Mews Central Shire on the Green is not covered by the card, and the Walthamstow Green Row Hillingham Stead is not even conveniently arranged to stamping the card in and out. If the card is not properly terminated, there is a large penalty fee. So this was going to be a problem. We walked in the rain to the E4 Indian Restaurant, where we had Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer, and garlic naan. The food was just OK, not as good as we had expected, nor as good as we can get in the Bay Area. In the rain.
Farewell breakfast at Heathrow
Hillary's flight was out of Heathrow, basically at the other end of Greater London. So we got up early to head out to Heathrow, even though the flight was in the afternoon. Check-in happened only after a long ordeal in line. (She later told us that she missed her connection in the US, resulting in a longer, frustrating flight home.).
For the rest of the day, check out the Fat Duck page.