BootsnAll Travel Network

London Calling


Hi all! Finally, a post! I don’t think “toot” means the same thing here, BTW. Week one has almost come and gone here in jolly old England. I arrived at Gatwick airport about two hours late and then waited in a customs line for another 1 and 1/2 hours. As I exited the international arrivals gate, what should I hear but “Becky Strauss, please come to the information desk.” Uh-oh, I thought, maybe Toni is waiting in a café somewhere since I’m so late. Turns out there was a slight communications snafu: me = at Gatwick, she = at Heathrow. Oopsie. Never mind, I took the train. First though, I changed some money. $500 = £3.00. Well, not quite that bad, but almost. The exchange rate is 2 to 1 right now, yet all the numbers look just right to my American eyes. For example, two Coronas (why not drink local, I say?) cost £6.70. That, dear readers, is $13.40 for two beers in a bar. I mean “pub.” Are you f-ing kidding me?? Because $6.70 in DOLLARS sounds a little pricey for two beers. Lunch today was £10.00. Thank god I have my peeps to stay with. Anyway, I’m not going to think about it.

So, I took the train (£13.75 one way) and met Toni in Victoria Station. I think it’s named for some famous British lady. Then we caught the tube to her flat. (I’m like a local now.) Our friend Suzie came over shortly after, and the drinking began! Any concerns I had that it would be at all awkward having not seen them for three years were dispelled immediately as it was like I just saw them yesterday.

Day 2: Woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Not really. Jet lag wasn’t bad though, and I managed to power through the day in Brighton, a seaside town that Suzie and Toni took me to. We investigated the bottoms of three wine bottles during the day, walked by the ocean, and ate fish and chips. Toni also gave me her back-up cell phone, I mean “mobile,” so I could call my homies with my itinerary when they were working. That evening Toni and I went out with some of her friends (the infamous Corona incident mentioned above) and out to a late dinner at a pub called “The Fish in the Tie.” Hmmm, whatev.

Day 3: Another hot and sunny day. Who says England is gray and drizzly all the time? Toni’s boyfriend Sam cooked the three of us an English breakie — sausage, bacon (which is what we Yanks call Canadian bacon), eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. After our light meal, we packed ourselves up and headed over to Casa de Suzie and Alex, in a leafy London suburb called West Dulwich, for a barbecue, where we whiled away the afternoon and evening. I won’t lay out the menu for that one, but let’s just say that this was a day of eating. All day. Hooray! We’re mid-meal below.

Suzie, Toni and I in Suzie's garden.

Day 4: Sunday began with tea in Covent Garden with Suzie, Alex, her parents and some friends of theirs. We had a lovely time and then her parents and friends walked us over to the Savoy Hotel, where Suzie had planned a surprise brunch for me with some of her friends. A surprise champagne brunch. With unlimited champagne. Yes, please, I’ll have another glass. Not to mention the entire room of desserts — including a chocolate fountain. Yes, dear readers, I almost lost my shit entirely. The London Marathon was run that day, and our table overlooked the race — ha ha suckers! It was the hottest race on record, and later as we made our way through the swarms of runners in Trafalgar Square (on our way to another bar), they looked hot, hot, hot. Day 4 didn’t come to a close until the wee hours of the night, as the group made its way to Soho, where my sister Karen and her friend Tim joined us at a bar, as she was in town for the night with her study abroad group, en route to Berlin the next day.

Day 5: I’m not hung over at all! Hung out with Toni all day, walked her neighborhood of Balham and then Clapham, and made a big circle through surrounding areas. We ate lunch at a little French bistro — practice for the Paris glutton-a-thon to come. I haven’t gotten this much exercise in months! Back to Suzie’s for the night.

Day 6: I decided I’d better see some culture and stuff, since I came all this way and everything. So off I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral, though it was £9.80 to get in. Um, no thanks; I’ll just look around the entrance. I’ve already been in there years ago anyway. I walked over to the Millenium Bridge, a foot bridge over the Thames and then checked out the new Tate Modern museum. Cool building, retarded art. Sorry if any of you are big modern art fans. I just don’t see how some rope nailed to a wall is art, but I could just be small-minded. Then, I wandered, had lunch, had some coffee, and eventually met Suzie and Toni for a glass of wine at a cool cave-like bar, which also had some outdoor seating so that we could take advantage of yet another gorgeous day. Suzie, however, has sworn off wine, and stuck to it. Out to a local pub that night with Toni and Sam.

Day 6: My last day, and I’m in Toni’s flat, my butt going numb from sitting on the couch trying to figure out how to size these stupid images for this blog, and it’s all for you, readers, all for you. My bouncy castle leg is very, very sore from all the walking, so I’ll probably only leave the flat today to go on a Cadbury-collecting mission (haven’t eaten even one piece yet, BTW) and to visit Toni at the coffee shop where she works. Ah, vacation! All five of us will have dinner here tonight and then tomorrow afternoon, it’s off to Paris, where I’ll have to rent a Little Rascal to cart my ass from bistro to bistro. C’est la vie! (Already talking like a Parisian, clearly). Also, if anyone wants a few more photos, check out the link on this page to Flickr. That’s it for London, folks — see you in Paris! xxx


-34 responses to “London Calling”

  1. Karen Erstad says:

    Go, Becky, get your food on! Those prices do sound outrageous. I am sick again — strep throut and nasty, nasty fever. Maybe in May I’ll get better — I can always hope. I have been sick for most of April. Enjoy Paris!

  2. Barrett says:

    It’s raining today and my cat’s got some sort of cat cancer. Plus my car died and I’m broke. Enjoy Paris!

  3. Jen says:

    Becky, it sounds like you’re off to a great start of your trip! I’m running Crazy Legs this Saturday in honor of YOU babe! So even though your jumpy castle leg is soar, remember that you’ve inspired at least one person to carry on with running! Enjoy Paris! Remember to say “Bonjour” and “merci” and “bonne journée” -pronunced ‘bun djohrnay’ (Hello, thank you and have a nice day), these are very important and will be used in every shop, cafe etc. Have FUN and eat a “chausson aux pommes” for me (an apple slipper) – it’s my favorite pastry – LOVE YOU xoxo’s, Jen

  4. Julia says:

    Come back!!!! You need to be selling build your own burgers!nrnrbitch

  5. Janet says:

    I’m so happy for you. And more than a little jealous. There is nothing new with me. Not a thing.

  6. Kady says:

    Me sure you talk pretty one day.

  7. Kady says:

    In Paris, try a few of these friendly get-to-know-you phrases:
    Mon Dieu, que vos enfants sont laids!
    Combien pour la fillette?
    Comme dessert, que me suggereriez-vous pour effacer le goût du plat de resistance de ma bouche?
    Ce restaurant n’est pas aussi bon que le Mc.Donalds.
    Je préfére l’Espagne.
    Je pense que la robe est trop petite pour vous.
    Votre grenouille a mangé mon dejeuner.

  8. mom says:

    Hi Becky, Janet got me on here so I could write a little to you. It is Sat. and I suppose you are in Paris. Hate you (not really). J and I are going outside to do some yard work. The fun never ends here in Dimondale. The sun is actually shining today. Sounds like you had a ball in London. Admit it, it was more fun to watch a marathon from a fancy vantage point than to run in it. Lame leg , my a. . Have fun in Paris and eat some chocolate for me. Love, mom

  9. Kirstin says:

    …food items. Farmers Market today!!! My two Chicago friends and I (only one of us ran Crazylegs) had the following:
    cheese curds
    apple/rhubarb hand pie from Stella’s
    Apple fritter
    kettle corn
    gingersnap cookie
    chocolate fire cookie (tastes like Mexican hot chocolate)
    one-bite chocolate peanut butter cheesecake from Grace cheesecake
    three other kinds of cookies that I did not sample
    coffee (of course)

  10. C says:

    Becky, I think that you should send your biggest fans some chocolate. Julie L. and your mom as well. You can eat my share.


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