Friday, October 25, 2013

Chelsea in London Part III

Sunday, October 20 - Romeo's Birthday!!

I slept in luxuriously (well, as luxuriously as possible in a hostel room with 8 twin beds stuffed in it) and headed out around 11am. Before that, however, we took advantage again of the free, albeit meager, breakfast. In the dining room, I saw two girls I recognized. I couldn't figure out where I knew them from, but I ran up to them thinking I had met them in Lyon, but they said no, they had not been to Lyon. They agreed that I also looked familiar, and after finding out they go to school in the northeast and have never been to Texas, we said goodbye. Literally 30 seconds after sitting down and them leaving the room, I realized where I knew them from. They were in the group of people in Florence that Romeo had approached about a place to stay the night we were stranded. While we had barely talked to them specifically, I knew I had recognized them! Unfortunately, by then they were gone and I never ran into them again. What a strange coincidence to run into them in a hostel in London almost a month later!

Finally, we set out for the day. We went in the direction of the British Museum, and found a place serving full English Breakfast all day. Since breakfast at the hostel was so pathetic (croissants and cereal and coffee), we decided to splurge. Romeo enjoyed this treat for his birthday and I got my favorite in London: bagel with lox (smoked salmon).

When we finished eating, Romeo headed to the loo (toilets), but there was a key-code needed to access them. He went to the counter and asked for the restroom. The man looked at him confused, and said the name of the restaurant "Toscana". Romeo looked confused in turn, and repeated "restrooms?" The man once more said "Toscana" and added the number 36 after. Romeo wandered back to the restroom door, thinking maybe the keypad had letters as well. But, no, there were only numbers. The man at the register saw him at the door of the toilets and started laughing and said "Oh! Toilets!" The miscommunication was pretty funny to witness! Lesson learned: ask for the toilets or the LOO when in England, not the restrooms!!! (Btw, "Toscana36" was the WIFI password!)

Once we left there, we headed to the British Museum only a few blocks away. London's museums are all free, so we enjoyed finally not having to pay for something! London is expensive, and museums are a great way to have some cheap and educational entertainment. We had downloaded Rick Steve's British Museum walking tour, and listened together as we strolled through the Ancient Egypt exhibit. We saw the Rosetta Stone, around which was a big crowd, as well as the huge Ramses head statue. We wandered through the mummies on display, learned about their ancient burial practices, and even saw Ginger, a 5,000 year old preserved body found in Egypt. Apparently, because they did not put him in any box or tomb, the weather and elements naturally preserved his body almost perfectly. I guess Romeo had learned about it on the Discovery or History channel, but I had never heard of it before then.

After Egypt, we headed into the area displaying Assyria. The most interesting part of that area to me was seeing the ancient language written on the big statues. I remember my dad talking about this language in class and it was crazy to see it carved into stone with such precision. Really neat!

Finally we went to the Greece area and saw the displays from the Parthenon. We had a nice sit in front of that display and also listened again to the Rick Steve's informational talk. I think Egypt was my favorite area, and  by the time we finished those three areas, and got one more look at the Rosetta Stone, we were ready to head out.

When we departed, it was raining (of course, it's London!), so we huddled under the umbrella together as we walked to the bus stop. I spotted my favorite store, Primark, and Romeo sweetly acquiesced when I asked to pop inside.

Three floors and about an hour later, we departed and my shopping bag contained: 1 large duffle bag (which to store the stuff I seemed to be continuing to accumulate despite not really buying anything!), 1 pair of knee high cozy socks, 1 neutral color infinity loop scarf, and 1 pink long sleeve basic t-shirt.

We then found our bus stop location in order to get a bus to Camden Market, but the bus which showed to be 10 minutes away took about 25 minutes. When it finally came, there was only barely room for us to stand near the entrance door. As we rode, I noticed a woman sketching near us. Romeo told me that he thought she was drawing me. I glanced over and saw not only was she drawing me, she was drawing the both of us! And, it was pretty good!! I didn't realize we were inspiration for art, but apparently we are. I only wished I could have gotten the completed picture from her.

We got off at Camden Town and walked about 10 minutes to a pub called the Lock Tavern which I had found online. It served what is according to the internet one of the best Sunday roasts in London. We lucked out and it was 2 for 1 deal. We got some drinks and I treated Romeo to his birthday dinner. We got a nice table and enjoyed our meal. We both got the pork belly and it was delicious. It came with the traditional roast sides: roasted potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage, green beans, and Yorkshire pudding all slathered in delicious gravy.

At the bar when we ordered, the bartender helped us choose a drink. Then he asked Romeo if he was Chilean. I couldn't help but laugh because in almost every country, someone has assumed Romeo was from South America, whether it was asking point-blank or just beginning to talk to him in Spanish.

After a couple hours of just relaxing at the pub, eating, and drinking, we made our way to an ice cream shop I had also found online. However, when we arrived, it had JUST closed for the day. It was okay, though, as we were both pretty stuffed from dinner and drinks. We browsed around the market shops still open then got a bus back to the hostel. Both of us turned in a bit early, as the next morning we had to get up and get to the bus station to catch our bus to Brussels.

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