The Lexingtonienne

July19th

6 Comments

We have arrived in London! And I have had “Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo!” stuck in my head the whole time. I found this coaster in a pub… a sign, perhaps?

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The past 36 hours haven’t been the most ambitious, perhaps. We are j-e-t-l-a-g-g-e-d! The first thing we did after checking into the hotel was to grab a bite to eat at a pub up the way. We ordered fish and chips and some pea soup. The fish and chips were… edible. The pea soup, however, was like pea water, and since we had already settled our tab, when the bartender wasn’t looking, we grabbed our stuff and made a run for it, leaving the entire bowl of soup sitting there.

Everywhere we’ve been so far, the British food has lived up to its less-than-stellar reputation. It’s pretty tough to ruin a French fry, but I’ll be darned if they aren’t trying their hardest over here! And when you don’t finish your meal, the server looks at your plate and, puzzled, asks if you’re finished. When you say yes, they ask if you didn’t like it. When you say it was fine but you’re stuffed (big lie), they ask if you want to take it to go. They seem almost sad about it. Ugh. Maybe next time I’ll just say, “Sorry, Oliver Twist, it was awful. I managed to chew and swallow just enough of this gruel to hold me over till I can buy one of your weird British candy bars. Cheers, mate!”

The traffic situation is super confusing for us Americans. When we ride in a taxi, I feel like we are going to DIE because I think we’re on the wrong side of the road. And when we cross the street, I don’t know know which way to look – agh! Luckily, they tell you:

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Anyway, we’ve done a little exploring, and I think we’ve mastered the famous London Tube. This is a pretty impressive accomplishment for me, as I’m terrified of the subway in New York. But the Tube is easy and kinda fun!

Notting Hill station

We ventured out last night towards Chinatown and found the West End theater (er, theatre) where we are going to see Les Miserables on Thursday night.

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west end theatres

On the way back we saw this guy waiting for the Tube:

British mouse

Mike doesn’t think British animals have British accents, but I’m pretty sure they do.

This morning I woke up at about 4 am and was wide awake til about 7 or 8. I thought about hitting the hotel gym, but thought, “Maybe if I lie here just a few more minutes, I’ll fall asleep.”  Then I hit a major wall and crashed til the afternoon. Meanwhile, Mike went to work.

When I finally emerged from the hotel room, I decided to try and find Harrod’s, which must be the most famous department store in the world. I hopped on the Tube and took the Central Line to Notting Hill Station, where I took the Circle Line to South Kensington, where I caught the Piccadilly Line to Knightsbridge. Are you proud of me, Mama? 🙂

Notting Hill Gate

Sign to Harrods

Harrods

I was surprised to find that Harrod’s felt sort of winding and cramped. I had no sense of where I was going or where I had come from when I was wandering around inside. I needed a bag of Reese Pieces to make a trail so I could find my way back! That said, I’m glad I went because I have always wanted to see it. And the Egyptian escalator was kind of cool.

Egyptian escalator

And since I don’t get to have any ale in the pubs while I am here, I’ve decided to indulge in the weird British candy bars as a consolation prize. (I have been known to investigate the local junk food selection when traveling. Mike is still grossed out by the time I ate a bag of Prawn Cocktail flavored potato chips in Ireland, but they weren’t bad.) Tonight we are having a Topic bar (“milk chocolate, hazelnuts, soft nougat & smooth caramel centre” – so a Snickers with hazelnuts) and a Cadbury Twisted! (basically a Cadbury Creme Egg in a candy bar). They print the nutrition information on the wrappers just like we do, except they call the calories “Energy.” Isn’t this smart? It sounds bad to eat calories but good to eat “Energy.”

British candy bars

That’s all I’ve got for now… I’ll be in touch later this week! Hope you’re having a good one.

xoxo,

Hannah

P.S. Big thanks for all the well wishes on our little announcement! We are 17 weeks along and I have felt fine the entire time… never had any sickness or nausea or anything. I’ve been running and working out a lot – I credit Ms. Jenny Lind and her super tough Bar Method classes with the fact that I’m still wearing my regular jeans in my second trimester. So far everything has been smooth sailing!

6 Comments

  • Comment by HaleyD — July 19, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    I’m impressed you found your way to Harrod’s all by yourself! Go Sister!

  • Comment by maggie duffy — July 19, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

    love the updates….thanks, have a great time!!!!

  • Comment by Cheryl Lalonde — July 19, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

    Hi Darlin (I thought you might need a little “Southern” to balance the proper English you are hearing lots of),

    One comment about the blog…you mentioned hitting a major wall and then taking a long nap…could be that sweet little baby you’re carrying. Congrats to you and your hubby on that precious baby!

    One suggestion…when in Harrod’s, look for Leonidas Chocolates. They’re imported from Belgium daily and are amazing. I’m not a big white chocolate lover, but do try the white chocolate pralines (I think it’s a coffee praline) with hazelnuts, and any other flavor that appeals to you.

    Have a wonderful time. Looking forward to your comments about Italian cuisine — your anemic response to English cuisine will be replaced with enthusiastic surrender!

    xoxo,
    Cheryl

  • Comment by Hannilou — July 20, 2010 @ 1:25 am

    Cheryl – thanks for the Southern twang! I wish I could blame the kid, but seeing as I haven’t had any tiredness these 17 weeks till after that long, sleepless flight, I’m pointing a finger at jet lag. After Mike was done with work last night (having had to get up when I went back to sleep), he was so tired he was cross-eyed. We are just all kinds of messed up! But I have been like this each time I’ve been to Europe… you just get so thrown off, and I’m glad we’ll be straightened out by the time we go to Italy.

    And I love Leonidas chocolates! There is a Leonidas store in our old neighborhood in Santa Monica and we used to stop in there all the time. I agree with you about the white chocolate pralines.

    As for the cuisine… we keep telling each other that we can eat in Italy! The food there is SO. GOOD. 🙂

  • Comment by Shae — July 20, 2010 @ 10:54 am

    Guess there’s a reason for the saying: there’s no place like home! But in the meantime, just try to enjoy the uniqueness of the Brits… because… When in Rome, ha ha, do as the Romans… 🙂

  • Comment by Jen Kulp — July 23, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

    Hey! Try a BOOST bar by Cadbury–I had a friend ship them from London every couple months until they changed the recipe. It’s not the same, but they’re still pretty tasty if you like caramel and shortbread with chocolate 😉

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