EuroAdventure Day 2: Belated birthday

(posted by Emily)

Friday 27 June 

This morning was an early one for us--ironic, since we had to wait till after 9:30 to get on the train in order to travel during off-peak hours. Rick and I were both up around 4am. Who knows why, but hopefully this jet lag will subside quickly! 

After figuring out the best travelcard option for us (an unlimited day travel card for £18 each), we hopped on the train out of Roydon. 

It was about 40 minutes to Stratford on National Rail, and once we arrived, we switched over to the Tube to head to Covent Garden. Since we were celebrating Rick's birthday one day late, our food choices for the day were up to him. Lunch was planned for Wild Food Cafe, in Neal's Yard. We arrived before they opened, so spent some time wandering around shopping and sightseeing before heading back. 

My Kappa fix for the day! (sorry it's sideways)
Flower stand inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
We happened up the National Portrait Gallery while wandering, one of the many museums with free admission on London. We figured, if it's free....why not? It was a speedy trip, but I got to see my homeboy Henry VIII and a few of his lady friends. 

We walked back over to Wild Food, and it was definitely time for lunch. Yesterday's meals were a bit fragmented, so I was excited to get a good square meal in my tummy. We had hummus with toasted sourdough, bruschetta, and a raw pizza. 

After lunch, we walked down to Trafalgar Square, which is busy being transformed for London's Pride celebration this weekend. No pictures from there, as the tents and temporary fences weren't that pretty to look at! There was something awesome hanging out on the fourth plinth (traditionally left empty or home to temporary art), but I don't want Dad to read this and spoil the surprise for him. I'll post a picture later in the week! 

Next up was Tower Bridge, and Borough Market. The bridge looked a bit empty without its giant Olympic Rings, in our opinion. We love checking out all of the offerings at Borough Matket--so many beautiful fruits and veggies, free samples, and delicious treats! We don't have any cash on hand yet (lesson learned--get to your bank at least a week early to order foreign currency), but it was probably a good thing, as we would have wanted to buy everything in sight (except the cheese).

We did manage to treat ourselves to a little Pimms o'clock drink, though!

After the market, a stop to see Big Ben and Westminster Abbey sounded good. We found a little grassy patch in the middle of the Houses of Parliament and the abbey and actually ended up taking a little nap in the sun. The Pimms was a contributing factor to the sleepiness, we think :) 

Sleepy, post nap
Before dinner, we wanted to stop by Hyde Park, were we are seeing Arcade Fire as a part of British Summer Time next week. We had fun walking through the grounds and seeing all of the birds up close in the lake. 

We transferred trains at Kings Cross Station, which meant a quick pass by Platform 9 3/4. I remember when the platform was actually designated between the physical platforms and no one really knew it was there. Now, the station is capitalizing on the tourist draw--a long Disneyland line to get your picture, and two attendants to keep things moving. They even dress you up in a scarf with props! There is a new Harry Potter store, too. 

We happened upon a pop up Wimbledon viewing area outside, and stopped to sit for a bit. 

Dinner was at another favorite, InSpiral Lounge in Camden Town. We each got a pick and mix plate, where you fill up with whatever looks good! Someday, we'll take the boat down that way, since the restaurant is right off of the canal! 

As we walked around the Camden Lock Market, we found tons of great little shops and food stalls. Most things were closing up, so we'll have to head back earlier in the day some time. 

We took the train back up to Roydon with only one minor mishap--there was a couple blocking the button to open the doors at our stop, so we got stuck riding one stop past. It was easy enough to grab a train going the other direction, and now we are relaxing with some BBC in our pjs. It is 9:35pm, but looks as bright as 7:30 at home! It's incredible! 

Can't wait for Dad to get in tomorrow!


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