Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mind the gap

So we are at about the mid way point of our visit to London. It has been most successful so far. Perhaps the best news is that we accomplished our main goal for this visit, which was to find bridesmaids' dresses for PetDoc and J. Not only did we find the style we wanted (strapless, tea length, simple and classic), in the colour I wanted (chocolate brown), we bought off the rack (no having to figure out how to order one in London and one in Ottawa) *and* we paid 80 pounds (about $150 Canadian) for each dress. So I got both dresses for less than I was dreading having to pay for one! The girls also found the cutest shoes to match and we are all set. The girls' dresses were a big part of the puzzle, design-wise, so now that we know the colour we can start choosing flowers and other decorating elements to complement them.

But wedding planning isn't all we're doing, of course. Not in one of the greatest cities in the world. J and I had a fairly uneventful flight over, although the turbulence was quite bad at times (bad in the "flight attendants please strap in" sense, as that announcement was made more than once). We had sweet seats, though -- first row of economy, lots of leg room, room to stand and stretch without being in the aisle, and fed first! I'm spoiled now. We have the same seats on the way back, too! Our arrival was also easy as pie -- not like when Serdic and I arrived in September and spent three hours in the customs hall. This time we landed exactly on time and within half an hour we were through customs, had collected our luggage, and were heading out into the arrivals area where PetDoc was waiting. A slight hiccup on the way out, as we managed to leave J standing on the tube station platform when she got her luggage caught and didn't make it on the train, but we got off at the next station and waited, and she was on the next train, so crisis averted.

Thursday we did some basic sightseeing, taking the train to Westminster and walking up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, then down the Strand to St. Paul's. A walk I have taken several times now, but J hadn't seen any of those places so it was a good way to really feel like we were in London. We were quite proud of ourselves, as we were operating on less than an hour's sleep in two days, but the travel adrenaline was flowing, I guess. We crashed pretty early, though!

Friday was our shopping day. We had set the whole day aside because we really had no idea what to expect or how long it would take, or even if we could find what we were looking for at all. But as I said above, we had great (and quick!) success and were able to spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the shops Oxford St (I got a gorgeous new purse!). Friday night's dinner was at one of our favourite spots in PetDoc and Noise's neighbourhood -- bangers and mash at The Old Suffolk Punch. Yum.

Today I had the great fortune to meet up with RJA and his friend K, who happen to be visiting London this weekend as well. RJA is a friend from home, but he has been living and working in Germany since the fall and so it was really good to see him and have a chance to catch up. We lunched in the cafe in the crypt under St. Martin in the Fields, and then retired to a local Starbucks for coffee and to continue our visit. We also decided to raise the cultural level a bit and made a quick visit to the National Portrait Gallery. It was a fascinating trip through British history, but unfortunately I had to bow out after just over an hour (we spent too much time visiting!), to head back to PetDoc and Noise's flat, so we could celebrate PetDoc's birthday. Dinner is pizza and champagne, and then the rumour is we are going to play some Wii. Sounds like a great evening to me!

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