Sunday, 27 March 2011

London (10-11.03)

This is what you call a room with a view
As I was drawing close to the heart of London on EasyBus from Luton airport I felt tears welling up in my eyes and try as I might I could not force them to stop. Ever since my first visit in 1993 I felt this was my place on earth and this time I felt it even more strongly especially that pregnancy and raising my second son successfully prevented me from going there for two long and difficult years. I greedily watched well dressed women in court shoes hurrying to work, children in uniforms being driven to schools, plastic cups of starbucks coffee being carried down the underground tunnels, cars going through a maze of narrow streets, joggers, shop windows, prams, handbags, shoes, faces of all nations... trying to soak in all these images and make them stay in my head. I should have moved there years ago, but ill understood loyalty towards my family who became so distant these days, friends I rarely see, boyfriends I no longer date kept me stuck in my place. Now it's too late.
Off at Victoria Station we (my hubby, our friend Anka and I ) hurried into the station pub (Wetherspoon's) for some English breakfast and a pint of ale. The breakfast itself was highly disappointing, all reheated including microwaved scrambled eggs instead of a fried one, but after all it WAS an English breakfast. And thus our 2-day pub crawl began. We visited a number of pubs in Earls Court, City and Waterloo areas where we sampled all ales and ciders which were unfamiliar to us, had dinner (fish and chips) in Knight's Templar pub, where our friend Kasia joined us. This pub had the most elegant and the largest toilets I've seen in the UK, well, the area is obliging. Then we moved towards Brick Lane to feast on Bangla sweets, which me and my husband are particularly fond of. I was starting to feel a bit tired, well I don't normally get up at 3 am and start drinking at 9, but when the cat's away.... oh, hold on, I'M supposed to be the cat, I guess I'll never get used to being a mother. Around 6 we started heading towards Waterloo for the event of the day and the reason for our being in London- to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros live at the Old Vic Tunnels (this gig will require a separate review). When we finally left the tunnels in search of some transport that would carry us back to our microscopic room in an Earl's Court hotel it was past midnight. The night was amazing we felt drugged on music, people's positive attidude, joy everywhere around, and the sound of chanting in the tunnels... oh brother... Back to our hotel Kuba drank his final drink of the day - Pimms lemonade and we closed the day.

Lebanese breakfast
 Next morning (my birthday) we were reminded of our previous day doings by a terrible hangover but Anadin Extra did the trick. By the way in Poland the mixture of paracetamol, aspirin and caffeine is considered poisonous, whereas in the UK it healed us miraculously. Together with the hangover a terrible realisation dawned on us: we had to go back home in the evening. So what could we do? Make the most of the day! To get our stomachs ready for another drinking session we went to a Lebanese cafe for the most exquisite breakfast of our lives and then headed towards Soho. I wouldn't have been myself if I could resist a make up haul. So while my husband and friend were sampling another kind of cider I popped into MAC in Foubert's Place and Liberty. Then we strolled across Soho towards Berwick Street to buy some CDs. Feeling quite tired we made a rest in Soho Square (which in our case meant cider and crisps). We sat on one of those benches dedicated to the memory of someone's beloved wife and watched office employees eating those neatly packed lunches, exercising yoga on the lawn, walking. It made me wonder how would my life be different if I was one of them... Having eaten up our crisps we dragged ourselves lazily to Covent Garden, which is the best place for souvenirs for two little boys. Where else will you get an underground train if not in the Museum of Transport? Where else will you get a Mickey Mouse pillow if not in the Disney store?  Covent Garden is also the place where we like to eat some traditional pies, we were quite disappointed though when we were served by a Polish waitress instead of our favourite waiter. We failed to recognize her accent as our native, but when she spoke to us in Polish I realized she spoke with a weird accent, which when transferred into English produced a sort of unrecognizable effect. I wonder which part of Poland the was from.
So that was it, with our stomachs full we left London, had our final drink at the airport and slept all the way back to Poland.

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