We left Houston at 8:35 pm on Tuesday evening (Nov. 24) and arrived in London the following day at 11:30 am. Sebastian had been in charge of research for ground transportation and quickly found that the Underground would be the best way around London. We took two trains (or metros, I don't know the difference) and a bus and made our way to our hotel in Colliers Wood, where we forced ourselves to stay up until night so we wouldn't suffer from jet lag.
Extremely tired and sleepy, we managed to trek out that same night. Since we'd purchased all day tickets for zones 1-6, we went out to see Big Ben and the Parliament at Westminster, as well as the London Eye. We walked around a bit before calling it a night and coming back to grab fish and chips and a pint of beer at the pub next to our hotel. We slept on a very uncomfortable spring mattress that awoke me a few times that night (as well as the doors slamming in the corridors.) The next day, we forced ourselves out of bed to have their continental breakfast.
The following afternoon, we went out to the London Bridge to see the Tower Bridge, and walked around some more to find the Gherkin, which I repeatedly referred to as the "glass penis." We rode all day on the Underground and managed to take wrong directions at just about every intersection. It later occured to us that we weren't really exloring London if all we were doing was riding the tube.
We walked over to Buckingham Palace and stopped by a park where a cute little squirrel climbed up my leg with a face asking "you hAZ fOoD?" Sebastian and I cracked up laughing.
At 4:30 pm, night fell. We were shocked. Not used to seeing darkness until 6 pm during the winter in Houston, we decided to go by foot to Piccadilly Circus. It was actually quite further than estimated on the map. On the way there, Sebastian came across Primark, a clothing department store, and decided to stop in to see what outfits they had. They had ridiculously low prices and he managed to get two button down shirts, complete suit and socks for about £46. He was very happy about that. I was tired and wanted to go back to the hotel, and even though he asked me repeatedly if I wanted something, I told him no.
Who turns down free clothes? That would be me.
Overall, I found our London stop to be much less of a culture shock. The people were very nice, respectful and very courteous. It was cold as hell- the coldest stop of all- but I'm glad it didn't rain. I had too much fried foods, but at least I didn't get sick. We ordered tap water everywhere and saved about £2-3 per meal on bottled water.
Sebastian made it his mission to "get busy" in every city stop of our trip. Which we did.
Next stop, Paris.