We met with our first estate agent who happens to share the building here on Webber St. These are basically apartment brokers that are set up in each neighborhood. We got some great initial info on how to tackle the house hunt, and we were on our way to explore various neighborhoods throughout the city. We headed to the 'closest' tube station to our flat, and of course got lost on the way. Not the 'closest' station if you take a couple wrong turns. Alas, we arrived at Borough Station on the Northern line, and headed south to the Clapham area (exit Clapham Common). We took in the local fare, and strolled around a nice little park, as the weather was again gorgeous (probably close to 60 degrees and sunny). We are still convinced that London is trying to trick us into staying with this beautiful weather. In the end, Clapham (or at least this part of Clapham) was not for us, and we hopped back on the Northern line back into the city.
We transferred to the Victoria line at Stockwell station, accidentally got off at the Pimlico station. Got back on the same train 4 minutes later, and then transferred to the Circle line at Victoria station (you still with me?!?). On the circle line we were greeted by a father and son combo that had just raided the local snack kiosk. I'm so happy they had the worst chewing etiquette of all time. Mouths gaping open, with unheard of smacking noises (so glad the little boy decided to shove all 14 pieces of his pink taffy in his mouth at the same time). Almost to the point where we had to get up and change seats. We figured it was a little early in our adventure to call out the local Brits on their table manners.
We took the circle line to Notting Hill Gate station, and took in the pricey suburban neighborhood of Notting Hill. Amazing little neighborhoods, where we quickly realized we were slightly out of a price range. And by slightly, I mean incredibly out of our price range. So we bought some postcards, and headed on down the road. No we did not see Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts, but there were quite a few blue doors. We hopped on the Central line at Notting Hill Gate to the Bond Street station, where we transferred to Jubilee Line up to St John Wood station. If we thought we were out of our price range in Notting Hill, then we just getting started. We found a residence for sale in the St John Wood area for 39 million pounds. We strolled down High Street, and took in all the ritzy shops and cafes. Definitely felt like the Rodeo Drive of London so far. We stopped by the Lord's cricket grounds, to (a) try to figure just how one plays the sport of cricket, and (b) to figure out what the huge floating egg shaped sky box was all about. Apparently they hosted the 1999 Cricket World Cup there, and needed more space for the press/diplomats. We determined St John Wood would be a great lunch destination when we have guests, but again out of the everyday budget.
We started to realize more and more that the Islington/Angel area was probably going to be the best fit for us. Tons of nightlife (pubs, restaurants, etc.) and it felt like a very safe neighborhood. We will definitely head back towards that area tomorrow to meet with more estate agents. Keep your fingers crossed that a great little one bedroom is on the market for less than 350 GBP per week.
From St John Wood we boarded the Jubilee line and headed south to London Bridge station to meet up with Jake Plumer for the first time. He gave us a brief tour of the area around our EY office, and we strolled up the River Thames and caught a beautiful view of the Tower Bridge at night. We caught up over a round of drinks at the Shipwright Arms pub, which is dangerously close to our EY office, and then headed over to the Bermondsey area for dinner. We ate at a great little pub called Woolpack, and told funny stories about moving across the pond. It's great to have someone like Jake P. who can relate to our tales. After dinner we headed down the road to the Barrowboy & Banker pub for one last night cap. We met a fourth little friend (see shayne's latest post), and made it to last call. Gotta love that the Pubs shut down on the early side, most closing before 23:00 (11:00pm). We caught our last tube ride of the day on the Jubilee line from London Bridge Station back to Borough Street, and managed not to get lost on the way home. It was a jam packed day, or at least it felt jam packed as we really didn't get started until almost 14:00 (2:00pm). Gotta set the alarm tomorrow, as we head back up to continue the house hunt in Angel/Islington.
Lesson(s) learned: Definitely need to explore the Oyster Card (all inclusive london transport card) instead of buying a day pass on the tube. Might be a more economical option. For those of you counting at home, I think we stopped at 9 different tube stations, on 4 different lines.