neither here nor there: day 3

You know how when you exercise, sometimes you don't actually feel sore until the second day after working out? I think traveling is kind of like that because even with clean clothes and all my toiletries I just couldn't get my energy level up on Tuesday. Despite sleeping like a log for a solid eight or so hours Monday night I wanted to cry when Neal woke me up that morning.

Anyway, I pulled myself together and we began the day by heading first to the embankment to walk around Parliament and Westminster abbey a bit before claiming the Thames River Cruise that came with our bus tour.

I kind of regret our inability to overcome the sticker shock associated with entering either Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's Cathedral (where we walked to later). The thing is, I've been to London before, but this was Neal's first visit. So there was always this inner struggle for me between wanting to do new things together and feeling disappointed for him if we missed out on some prototypical London experience when in fact prototypical London wasn't necessarily top on his list of things to do and see. It's weird when you have twisted, well-intentioned but misunderstood bickering about stuff like that.

Here we are on the boat, pushing away from the dock. And here's the Tate Modern, up (or down?) the river a bit.

I really love this building, the combination of brick factory meets modern overenthusiastic use of glass really works well. And it gets even better inside. A bit further on, we passed under the London Bridge. It's a bit anticlimactic. Look, these people aren't even checking out the inscription in the bricks:

And here we are, passing under the Tower Bridge.

The boat made a turn after Tower Bridge and headed back to where we started. The entire cruise took about an hour. Wanting to milk our 24 hour tour bus ticket for every pence it was worth, we walked up to Picadilly Circus (after initially getting turned around and walking in the opposite direction for five or ten minutes) and boarded the blue, museum route. I think the original plan was to take it all the way around, out to the V&A and back to the British Museum, spending the rest of the afternoon there. But sitting on the bus I already felt exhausted and hungry and, once again, not quite ready. I'm not sure why exactly, with no dirty clothes to blame this time. At any rate, we stayed on the bus until it looped back toward Covent Garden, where we'd noticed a Cornish pasty bakeshop the day before. Not to brag or anything, but I once had a Cornish pasty in Cornwall near Tintagel Castle, where King Arthur was supposedly conceived. I think. Anyway, this experience was, in comparison, pretty good, but one pasty was all it took to meet my pasty quota on this trip. I believe it was at this point that I realized I was cranky and tired because I was probably dehydrated. We bought a big bottle of water and decided to walk to the London Tower and Tower Bridge.

It didn't look too far on the map but by the time we got to the Millenium bridge, we were pooped. We decided to hit St. Paul's and the Tate Modern instead and save the Tower stuff for another day.

St. Paul's was starting to turn people away by the time we got there. Instead we admired the exterior while enjoying our first 99 Flake. After that we walked back across the Millenium Bridge (it wasn't "wobbly" at all) to the Tate Modern. Overall, I'd have to say I was more impressed with the building than the art inside, but I'm a little bit of an art scrooge these days. Blame it on art school.

There was, however, one really great video piece by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander of ants moving confetti around after Mardi Gras parades. And actually, that made up for my not being terribly impressed by anything else. Other than encountering not one

but two other guys dressed exactly as Neal was that day.

I honestly didn't realize photography wasn't allowed and was promptly scolded after the second photo.

We chilled on the embankment for a bit before heading to Soho for dinner at Masala Zone. It took us about an hour after that to buy a phone card, with which we tried to check our home voicemail but couldn't remember how exactly (instructions on how to do this remotely are another thing I didn't think of before the trip began). Our petsitter officially had one less way of getting in touch with us.

Watching a bit of the local news later that night we learned that Liverpool was getting ready to play Milan in the European Cup the next night in, you guessed it, Athens. They lost.


the oakland samps said...

Those pictures of Neal are HILARIOUS. Seriously I actually laughed out loud! I am starting to obsessively check your blog for updates. Your travel stories are too funny! I also thought the elevator photos were hilarious.

the oakland samps said...

P.S. I am so proud of myself for finally figuring out how to comment! It only took me 2 years! I'll try not to be too annoying with it :)

Becky G. said...

Hey Mer, thanks for the nice comments! And congrats on unlocking the key to the bliss of blog comments :)