Friday, October 8, 2010

München trip: Day 1: London

I forgot how mad London is.

As we left home this morning, a light breeze tugged leaves from the trees across our lane. It was peaceful, watching them spiral down toward us as we walked to the train station, mingling with the Friday morning commuters. That seemed continents away as we crammed on the Piccadilly Line this evening.

Apparently the crowds were worse than usual because they'd decided to shut down the line upon discovering an unclaimed bag. That said, as Tea quickly pointed out, colliding with any London evening commute is more excitement than any of us are used to. (I wonder if they are more alert after the recent American announcements, that, happily, warn about travel both to here and our destination of Germany.)

Aside: it's hard to believe that the newspaper is dead after taking a trip like that: well over half the commuters had their noses buried in the printed word. And, when you think about it, it makes sense: with all the jostling that goes on, I'd surely drop a hand-held device. Plus, you can fold it in all sorts of ways to improve your grip. And when you're done, in the bin with it. But maybe that's just me, only truly comfortable with my devices when I'm on the couch or at the kitchen table.

Just outside Paddington Station
Staying at the Novotel near Paddington is neat: the houseboats lining the canal right outside the station seem so European; in a way much of the rest of the city doesn't strike me. That said, however, I wouldn't cover our next stop, Covent Garden, with that broad brush: it's so vibrant; a melting pot of language and cuisine. Speaking of which, the Jamie's Italian close by didn't disappoint.

Nancy and Stephen had met us at Paddington fresh from their overnight Atlantic crossing -- which is to say, excited, but far from rested -- but thoughts of napping were quickly dispelled by those of lunch at Jamie's; they're loyal readers of this blog, and were eager to experience the subject of such fuss.

The service at this location, always an unknown variable with any chain, was excellent: our waitress answered all of Stephen's (many) questions, and even brought us samples of a few dishes -- something he probably loves even more than quizzing folks. Our old standbys made yet another appearance, but I had a special of braised lamb this time; exquisite! We ended the meal with the lemon polenta cake -- again, possibly the best dessert on the planet.

Up next: Munich! "Hoi! Hoi! Hoi!"

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