London

JUNE 5 - 8

London was a spontaneous decision resulting in a 3 day whirlwind of a trip. At the airport we were greeted by an immigration officer interrogating us about our visit to England. Apparently we got the address of the hostel wrong and he accused us of "making it up." Police officers packing some serious heat hung around near the exit. I suppose London is very wary right now because of the recent knife murder incident. The hostel was also particularly strict with security. A Scottish guy in our room tried to sneak a Londoner in with the rest of us late at night, which did not end well. Instead of a slap on the wrist we were nearly kicked out of the hostel but settled for "banned for life" status!

 Big Ben amidst the typical drab London weather.

Big Ben amidst the typical drab London weather.

 Tourists at the Westminster Palace.

Tourists at the Westminster Palace.

Classic British cheekiness is everywhere. A sign that might otherwise state: "Beware of pickpockets" in the subways, reads "Give 'em an inch and they'll take all they can" with a photo of a purse slightly unzipped and a hand going for its contents. Or in the public restrooms there might be some very direct info on proper sanitation. Here they start off with, "We need to have a chat about the loo…"

Contrary to what you might hear about bland English fare, we had some spectacular food at the Bourough Market that reminded me a lot of Pike Place in Seattle. We ate fresh lamb and mint burgers from the Northfield Farm stall and drank some of the best coffee I've ever had at the Monmouth Coffee Company. We were recommended to visit from some people who we met at a Trampled by Turtles concert the night before. It was downright heartwarming to see a crowd of Londoners letting loose to good ol' American redneck blue grass. 

 City bustle from atop a double decker bus and the River Thames on the one nice day.

City bustle from atop a double decker bus and the River Thames on the one nice day.