Fortunately I didn't have to think too hard about getting from Heathrow to my hotel because my transfer was pre booked. So all I had to do was sit back and savour the perfect spring weather and my first sights and sounds of what I think will be second most favourite city to visit (after New York).
London's iconic landmarks popped up on every street we drove down. Piccadilly Circus just happened to be to my right when the car paused at the lights. From my studies of the Lonely Planet maps, I was under the impression that kilometres of walking were involved between 'the sights'. We are so used to distance in Australia. That so many places of historic and cultural significance can be so densely packed together was beyond my brain and it being in 3 different timezones in the last 24 hours.
Jetlag makes me do some strange things. Like hum the Austin Powers theme song to myself as I made my way to my room in the W. It was actually a rather appropriate soundtrack to have as I approached my room number on the wall. In the moodily dark corridor, I'm sure Austin would also have thought that the room numbers were up in lights. They're actually metal studs that reflect the down light above each room door.
From this angle, my room looked very generic big city hotel room. Except that the vanity in the foreground extends to include the room's desk. Where might the 'facilities' be I hear you ask? To the left behind a mirrored wall. I'm still coming to terms with finding where the separate door for the toilet and shower begin in the wall.
Then things get a bit Austin again with this feature wall of plates. Which I first properly noticed when I was standing on the shagadelic (baby) brown rug on the other side of the room.
It's barn door Austin by the time you get to the bed area and the silver drape behind the bed head.
The cushion reads 'Keep Your Wig On'.
Which I did in a uniquely British way.
|The regular sized Tangle Teezer retails for GBP10. I don't think they are in Australia yet.|
My other big purchase of the day was an Oyster card. There's no turning back now, I'm going to explore this city by foot and rail and I've got 7 days on my Oyster card to do so.
I had my first meal in London with my old and dear friend S. We went to Princi in Soho. So close to my hotel I shall be alternating breakfast between the 2 Ps - Pret A Manger and Princi for the rest of my stay. Princi is a Find. It is a Milanese bakery with its own wood fired oven at the front of the store. Considering the location and quality, I was very pleasantly surprised at the prices.
The dining area is made up of communal long tables with sandstone walls and black marble accents. There are tap fountains along the walls which trickle soothingly under the quiet chatter of all those wonderful British and Italian accents. It radiates warmth and a unique combination of old world elements in a very modern design. How can one not relax their stiff upper lip and loosen up over coffee and baked goods here?
It was coffee and cake for S but I'm not sure what meal it was for me, I lost track of where I was up to on the plane. So I ordered both sweet and savoury options.
|Cream and Ricotta Slice, GBP 4.20|
|Crostata Strawberry, GBP 3.60.|
|Marghherita Pizza, GBP 4.10.|
The pizza had a nice thin curst and just the right amount of cheese and tomato sauce on top.
Princi also has a bar area at the back of the restaurant as well as salads and pasta dishes.
It's taken me all evening, but I think I have my bearings. I know the general direction I need to walk for tomorrow's sight seeing and I will not forget my guide book and map.
I'm going to turn in now, safe in the knowledge that I'll sleep like a log and that at night, disco reigns supreme near the lifts on my floor. Austin would appreciate this too.
Good night / good morning and take care.