Dispatches from across the pond.

Hey guys.

I thought I'd give you all some updates from my first-ever trip to Europe. I'm in Nice now, and I absolutely love it, but there will be more on that later. For the moment, let's chat about London.

Backstory: Since I needed to be down in SC for next week's Fowler Family Radio Hour (see previous post!) shows, I drove down to Sumter on Saturday and flew out of Charlotte on Sunday. I had to teach Saturday, so I didn't get to Sumter until almost 6am. No biggie. I wanted to be tired on the plane so I could sleep.

Sunday I ate Chinese food with my family, and Sam and Mom took me to the airport. The flight from Charlotte to Gatwick was uneventful. I didn't get to sleep much, but that's because I was flying coach and had about an inch and a half of space between the window and the Halliburton contractor sitting next to me. (Might not have been Halliburton, but he was a DoD contractor headed to Dubai and then Afghanistan, so you do the math.) The two hours I got on the plane plus the 4 hours I got in Sumter mean that between Saturday morning (around 6am) and my arrival in London on Monday (around 8:15, London time), I had banked a total of six hours of sleep. That explains why I nearly passed out in the TATE Britain and took a 300 year old portrait with me... but that's a narrowly avoided international incident for another day.

I had an 11 hour layover in London, so I headed into town. Why not?

The first picture I took before doing so? I picture from the restroom, because I think international signs are hilarious.

.. ahem...

Anyway, the time on the town was great. I took the train into Victoria Station, and had neither a map, nor a gameplan, nor a particularly clear consciousness due to the sleep delerium I had on the back burner.

I wandered some. I stopped off and had a cup of tea. Darjeeling. It was good. I figured it was a must in London, plus it help put me in the mood for some sightseeing.

I caught Westminster Abbey. Beautiful. I didn't go inside, but it was pretty amazing just to be around it.

... and another portion of it....

Here's one of one of the other churches on the Abbey grounds (St. Michael's?) with Big Ben in the background...

This also began my comedy of errors of trying to take a picture of myself.

Could be worse.

Next I strolled over to Parliament where I took this gem.

What a tool.

I took some shots of the Thames next, and you can see the London Eye in the background.

I also made my way to Buckingham Palace and took these classics.

What a moron.

There were red phone booths....

and tiny cars that looked like red phone booths....

(That's a Prius behind it... that's how small this thing was....)

and men dressed in red with hats like phone booths....

and red buses. I didn't take a picture of those....

I also ate Fish and Chips and had a pint of Old Speckled Hen at the Bag O' Nails Pub.

Is all of this cliche? Sure, but give me a break. It was a few hours in London.

More to come.

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