After 3 days in Phoenix and 3 in Georgia we boarded our British Airways flight to London! Our 8 hours in the air was filled with On-Demand movies (so cool!) where we got to choose between HP 7, Love and Other Drugs, The King's Speech, Black Swan, True Grit, and 127 Hours - what a line up!!! Through customs we went and instead of saying, "We will be here for a week," we had to say, "Well, we are moving here...now." Our driver (thank you Ernst and Young) took us through a scenic drive of the city and we quickly marveled at Big Ben, Westmister, and Buckingham Palace (and the changing of the guard), through the window of our car.
We arrived at our temporary accommodations in Southwark (Flat 43, MyBase1, 130 Webber Street, London, SE1 0JN) and began the settling in process. This consisted of an email home, a warm shower, and a 4 hour nap! We woke in time to head down to 'the cut' (yes, that's the name of one of the main streets) and found a delicious Italian restaurant for our first culinary adventure of the trip. Luckily we happened to stumble into a beautiful white table cloth establishment, with some amazing true Italian cuisine. We met our first 'british friend' - a middle aged 40 something from Wales (you have to love how close they seat you next to your fellow diners in Europe). He informed us of the many ins and outs of the area, and wished us well on our adventures. After dinner, we headed down the road to our local pub - the Stage Door - where we had a few pints, and read our first English newspaper. Believe it or not, Britney Spears still makes headlines here as well. We stopped at our local market on the way home for some 'home supplies', which included a couple of Newcastle beers, Haribo gummy bears (yay!), and Shayne's new love...butterkist popcorn. We also attempted to get some coffee creamer for our morning coffee, but ended up with something that closely resembles a cross between sour cream & churned butter. Hey, you live you learn. More experimenting needed. We ended our day with a lovely viewing of a great american classic film - Waterworld! Who doesn't love a good Costner flick.
We arose on Tuesday at the brisk morning hour of 13:00. For those of you following at home, that's one in the afternoon. Jake kept waking up, and smiling as Shayne was still a sleeping beauty! It's not often that she stays in bed past 7:00am. The day started with a lovely medley of Coffee & Butter cream (note: cup of coffee not finished by either party), a french baguette, apricot jam & some delicious cheese. After 'brunch' we headed to the local hardware store for our first electrical adapter purchases (more to come we're sure). We headed back to the flat to square away our finances, and wrote down some google map directions for the jaunt to the bank. Sure we got lost, but we ended up on the right street eventually, it just might not have been the 'most efficient route'. We got our UK bank accounts set up (thank you Lisa from NatWest bank!) and boarded the Tube (MIND THE GAP!) for a trip to one of our neighborhood's of interest - Islington/Angel.
Shayne would like to add (in reference to Islington - AMAZING!!!! - We're doing it!!!)
The Islington/Angel area was fantastic. We walked up and down Upper Street & Liverpool Road, and found some amazing pubs, restaurants, shopping & culture. We stopped in The Angelic pub for a round, and Shayne found Bulmers Cider on tap! This is definitely our first choice so far for future living scenarios. Granted, we've only visited one neighborhood...but trust us...it was a hell of a neighborhood.
Favorite London Moment #1: Flash Mob opera at the King's Head Pub (Islington, Upper Street, 19:00) Let us describe further... Sitting in a quaint little pub just off upper street. Two beers ordered (London Pride & Staropramen). Pub is packed like a can of sardines. All of a sudden, a man begins to sing. Next, a nice young lady (who had just propositioned us to buy used CDs & looked homeless) joined in. We soon realize, that the majority of patrons who had been drinking around us, were all joining in the musical performance one by one. We asked ourselves, are we the only ones in here that aren't a part of this performance?!? Yes, we decided. Well us, and the drunk homeless man who snuck in for the viewing. We are in the middle of a Flash Mob Opera. Unforgettable indeed.
We headed back towards the tube, and caught the northern line to London Bridge station, with a quick transfer to the Jubilee line back home to Southwark. We headed down 'the cut' to a local place our 'british friend' told us about. The Culture Grub chinese restaurant. We are talking, a massive plate of incredible chinese food for all of 5 pounds. When you come visit, we will probably be taking you here. Granted again, we have eaten at all of 2 restaurants to date, but both have been fabulous, and this one was an amazing deal.
We are now back in our flat enjoying a Newcastle, a Bulmers, and round two of Butterkist popcorn. Who knows, maybe Field of Dreams is showing tonight.
Day 2 lesson learned: Coffee creamer = Coffee Whitener. No butter coffee tomorrow!