VeloGrinds

Adventures in The Big Smoke

Gant MorgnerComment

Days 14, 15, & 16 - (September 4th, 5th, & 6th, 2014)

I woke up the next morning with a massive Princeton reunions style hangover. However, I had a laundry list of items I had to knock out over the next few days before I could leave London for Paris.

First things first, I rode to the nearest bike shop to replenish my provisions of tubes, cables, tape, and other small items I depleted through on the rough ride into London. Next, I met up with Holly (whom I met in Ennis) for brunch in Notting Hill and afterward she pointed me in the direction of the best and cheapest place in the city to do all my laundry. Finally, I stopped off at the Royal Post office to send off some post cards, as well as another 10 lbs of items that I did not desperately need for the trip forward to my cousins in Denmark.

While I knew London would be expensive, this day provided an ugly reminder that everything cost 50% more than I was used to back in the States. Guess this is the price you pay to live in what many believe is still the world’s most influential city.

Since the Wi-Fi was spotty and slow in my hotel (which would happen often throughout Europe) I finished off the day at a local wine bar catching up on work… how European of me!

The next day I holed myself up at a Starbucks to finish all I had started the night before. Between writing a prospectus for one of my consulting clients and planning the next few days of my trip into Paris, more London adventures could not ensue until I got my $hit together!

Finally after about 6 hours in Starbucks, my work was done and I headed off to meet up with Steve Williams, a friend from Coronado High School I knew was in town for work. Luckily, he was staying just one stop past me on the Underground, so it was easy to meet up at the station.

Once on the Underground, we sat next to a couple girls who looked extremely familiar. After a brief conversation, we found out they were also from San Diego and living just a few blocks from Steve and I in London. Small world! Steve and I were headed to the Shoreditch area of London for dinner and drinks while Amanda and Megan were meeting up with a friends further east on the line, so we made plans to grab a drink later.

Shoreditch was amazing, and it’s not just for Hipsters! We met a couple of Steve’s friends at Pizza East, which reminded me a lot of Basic Pizza in San Diego with its industrial, open-air feel perfectly combined with live music, strong drinks, and copious amounts of wood accents. After a few hours of bar hopping, we meet up with our new San Diego friends in a fratty area of London to cap off another amazing, albeit expensive, night in The Big Smoke.

The next day, we met up with Megan and Amanda again to play tourist in this great city. After a long NOODLE through Hyde Park, the four of us had lunch in Mayfair with Hesh. Next, we walked along the Thames River to see the Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, and finally “The Square Mile” before heading home exhausted.

What a day! But I needed to get a good night’s sleep as I had 70 miles ahead me the next day when I started my trek to Paris.