Monday, October 24, 2005

London - part 2

I felt that after all the walking and the stress of moving rooms, I deserved a lie in but I woke up early and could go back to sleep. Therefore I decided to catch the 10:36 am to Victoria, like did some of the others in the group. But when we arrived at the station we found the train had been cancelled and we needed to change at Eastbourne. Did British Rail (or whatever they are now called) know that I was not travelling lightly? At least there were no stairs to master at Eastbourne.

In London I decided to walk from Victoria to my hotel in Old Park Lane, because on the map it did not look very far. Big mistake. It started to rain and because of the heavy bags I was soon sweating, so I arrived at the hotel wet inside and outside. I bet this is a sight they do not often see in luxury hotels like this one (it is home to the Nobu restaurant were a couple of years ago it was “game, set and match” for Boris Becker in a closet).

The room was fantastic! And after a shower I felt human again and ready to go out and work my credit card. The Lilac Time’s “Astronauts +” had been re-released a couple of weeks ago and I did not manage to find it on the internet. There was only “Astronauts” without the “+” and I definitely wanted the “+”. At HMV on dreadful Oxford Street I finally got my hands on it. Hallelujah! I also bought “Intensive Care”, the Little Britain Series 2 dvd and more stuff. Another expensive stop at a bookshop and I returned to the hotel happy but with a significant cashflow problem.

Another hotel, another gym, another treadmill. This one the best out of all three. It is open 24 hours and comes with a personal trainer on duty all the time. He disappeared though when he realised that I knew exactly what I wanted to do and needed not further assistance than basic instructions on how to use the machine. I wish, I could afford to stay in places like that always.

In the evening I met James and Barbara in the bar of the hotel for a couple of drinks. It is a very nice bar, for hotel guests and members only. And as Jimbo pointed out, it must be the first one he was in, without prostitutes. I wonder where he normally stays at when he travels?

Barbara arrived a little later after a long
day at work and she looked very tired. The next day she was leaving for a business trip which sounded like “see Europe in a week”. I did not envy her!

Jimbo is going to run the NY marathon in two weeks time and as he put it, he is now past caring. He has been training hard and thinks, he will run in about 3h 45min. Funny, I had never put him down as sporty spice. He is also planning to run the London marathon next year, so I will not be completely alone! But if he really is that fast, he will finish about one hour before I will.

We left the bar and went to a pub called The Grapes in a little square in Mayfair. Having spent most of the day on busy Oxford Street I had completely forgotten that little streets and squares like this one exit in the city. I had my first pint of Guiness in a long time (the last one must have been when I had been to Ireland with a couple of friends ages ago) and we talked about anything and everything.

I slept like a baby that night in the softest bed ever. The hotel also provided the softest complimentary slippers I have ever had and I have actually taken them home with me. Am I a thief now? Do they clean them or do they throw them away after they have been used? I guess they throw them away but you never know…


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