London: Day 1

I had an overnight flight and arrived at my hotel for the weekend – the Alhambra. I chose it because it was inexpensive (these next 2 nights are on me) and centrally located (a short walk from the Kings Cross tube station). My flight got me in at 6:15AM and I got to the hotel a little before 9AM. Since the room wasn’t ready yet (I chose one of the “fancy” rooms with a bathroom and a shower in it) I went out exploring.

I didn’t fire up the e-mail Schulte sent me about places to go, so I picked up a tube map and picked something that looked familliar – the Tower of London.

Tower of London 2

This place was pretty cool. They had actual Beefeaters show you around, and they gave an excellent tour. There were a lot of interesting stories about people who died here (mostly beheadings). Also within the Tower of London is a building with the crown jewels. One of the sceptres had an absolutely disgusting diamond of 530 carats. At that size, it just plain looks fake. Evidently it is the largest cut diamond in the world.

After the Tower of London I made my way back to the hotel for a nap. Then I headed out and found a brochure for the Hard Rock Cafe. Schulte had informed me that this is actually the original Hard Rock and not some knock-off tourist trap. The wait for dinner was an hour and a half, so I moved on and had dinner elsewhere. Schulte wanted a T-shirt, although I found the cheapest one was 13 pounds (about $25). A weak dollar does not make for good souvenir shopping. Although, even if the dollar were stronger this shirt would still be hilariously overpriced.

I ended up going to a pub near my hotel for dinner. They had good, “extra cold” Guiness on tap and the bartender made sure to leave a clover on top. The bar was pretty funny – I could kind of make out the “no smoking” sign amidst all the smoke. I then ate one of the grossest cheeseburgers of my life (on a table with an ashtray) before turning in.

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