Maybe it was the few rare hours of European sunshine I got to enjoy, or maybe it the familiarity of being in an English speaking country with a Starbuck’s on every corner, but I absolutely loved London the second time around. After settling into my perfect hotel –in a quaint, old building right on Hyde Park – I set off for the purpose of my visit, to celebrate the 30th birthday of an old (no pun intended) travel friend. I didn’t know anyone besides Renee, but all her friends, mostly Australian like her, were extremely friendly and welcoming. The social vibe in this city is just fantastic! It is just like you see in movies, groups of friends and/or acquaintances constantly getting together for fun activities, dinners, or nights on the town. The party ended when the pub shut down at midnight, and we all went our respective ways home shortly thereafter.
I did some site seeing with Renee on Saturday -- the Tower of London the location of Anne Boylen’s execution, VERY COOL! -- and then met up with another friend, Phil (Steven's cousin), and the group that I went skiing in Colorado with this past January for drinks that evening.
Sunday I strolled down Bayswater Rd., had a look at the art market of over 250 artists displaying their works, and took a brief stroll in the park. The Tube system was under construction so I used the iconic double-deck red buses to get around and I really couldn’t have been happier with the experience. On the route I went past all the major sites like Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. Even though I had seen it all before, I was still awe-struck by the size and beauty of these historic landmarks. I was disappointed to find that the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater wasn’t open for tours due to a performance, but I took my lemons and made some really tasty lemonade by spending the rest of my day shopping. The night was topped off with a relaxing outdoor pub dinner in the extremely quiet, mellow river area of the Hammersmith neighborhood.
My final 2 days were spent mostly in meetings, but I did manage one more fun outing to see Hairspray in the famous West End theater district with Renee. It was truly one of the best, possibly THE best, musical I have seen. It was just the high note (pun intended this time) to close out this fabulous weekend!