January 11, 2007

January 10: London (for real)

Kings Langley, Roz's living room: Wednesday 11:3 pm GMT

Once again we didn'€™t leave the house until after 10. We spent the time catching up on emails and preparing our travel plan for the day.

We took the train to Euston (pronounced like "€œHouston" only you don'™t make the sound of the "H"). From there we decided to walk down to our first and most illustrious stop of the day. (You'€™ll have to wait with hungry hearts until later for me to reveal this most wondrous of all tourist haunts.)

We walked past several University College London buildings. At first we saw only 1960s/70s monstrosities, but eventually we saw a building or two (whether of the University or not) that was beautiful and we ended up on a street that was filled with gorgeous architecture (which reminded me quite a bit of NYC). We stopped in a little grocer’s and Rob picked up some Hob Nobs which we munched as we walked.

We eventually started to sense that we were drawing near to our esteemed destination and asked at a shop or two for directions. It turns out we were placed exactly right and needed only to proceed forward to see this most noble of venues.

When at last we happened upon it, I wanted much to throw myself to the ground praising the heavens and sending up loud exclamations of thanks for the grandeur and status of that which lay before me.

I'm sure you'€™ve guessed by now our illustrious goal. Perhaps you'€™re weeping even now in grief and envy at what I have seen that you, so far in your lowly life have yet to behold. For on this day, 10 January 2007, I have walked through the campus of the London School of Economics.

*pauses to allow for cries of dismay, jealousy and perhaps even rancor at my recent good fortune*

After that, nothing more we could see, not St. Paul’s Cathedral, not the first pub in England to serve Guinness, not even the Tower of London could compare. The rest was but sorrowful denouement.

So after a time of worship in €œthe "Economist's Bookshop",€ (where I read through the script of "the Extras" and Rob purchased a copy of Intellectual Property Law (under English Law)) -- you can see who is the more devout between the two of us -- we wandered towards Saint Paul's Cathedral.

We were getting hungry, so we stopped on the way at a little Irish pub. The Tipperary turned out to be the oldest Irish pub in London. The food was excellent and our waitress (from Poland) was a kick.

We then finished our walk to St. Paul's. They were asking for 9.50 pounds (I’m sure I have a way to make the pound sign but I don'€™t feel like looking for it right now) per person to get in (which would be about $19 each), so we just looked around from the entranceway and headed back out.

We got a text message from Roz that she'd be meeting us at the Euston station soon, so we bustled off to the Tower as quickly as possible, snapped some photos, then sped back to the Euston Station. From there we went to TKTS and picked up some tickets for Twelfth Night.

We were getting hungry so we stopped and had tea. I had my first taste of clotted cream, which I had greatly anticipated after seeing an article about it in Saveur. And I have to admit that it was quite good. But I expected it to be a few more levels of heavenly than it was. I believe that if I had to choose between clotted cream and MouCo cheese, I might just go with the cheese.

After tea we stopped in at a bookshop. Then we headed across the Thames to the Old Vic theater and watched Twelfth Night. It was an all male cast, just as it would have been in Shakespeare'€™s day, and I think the guys played that off with wonderful effect. The acting was superb, the music beautiful and... well, at one point Rob, who has only read Shakespeare’s tragedies, leaned over and said, "I didn'€™t realize Shakespeare was so baudy!"