Because I'm traveling on a restricted ticket, I ended up with an extended layover in London. Not that I'm complaining... I love London, and visit every chance I get (which would be a lot more often if the US Dollar wasn't rubbish against the British Pound). It's just that it's tough to be here when I don't have any personal time to hang out with friends that live in the area.
Hopefully next time.
Thanks to a patient taxi driver and London's excellent public transportation system, yesterday I managed to get a big chunk of the city's "Featured Spots" stamps collected from Gowalla. Then today before dinner I finished off the two remaining spots I needed. Some of the fringe locations (such as Wembley Stadium and the Prime Meridian of the World), will have to wait for next time, but I got all the biggies from the city and surrounds (you can click on them to see what they are)...
I maintain that Gowalla makes for an excellent travel guide when visiting larger cities, because the most popular tourist spots always seem to get "Featured" status. Out of the above stamps, I've been to these places multiple times. I admit it was kind of nice to be visiting them again not as a tourist, but as a collector! Thanks, Gowalla!
One place I haven't been to multiple times is the new Apple Store in Covent Gardens! It's the largest Apple Store on planet earth (at least until the New York Grand Central location is built). It's also incredibly beautiful, as Apple did an amazing job refurbishing the building. What I love most is how, from the outside, you can't really tell its an Apple Store at all...
Somebody just bought a new iPod!
No giant sign or anything... not even a glowing Apple logo... just elegance and class through and through. They discourage picture-taking inside, but Apple's official site has some beautiful photos you can look at.
The exact opposite of elegance and class would be the massive outpouring of tacky souvenir crap that's been unleashed in "honor" of the upcoming royal wedding. The stuff is everywhere. Plates, cups, notepads, stickers, cards, books, pencils, platters, postcards... you name it. I would not have been at all surprised if you could buy hemorrhoid cream with Prince William and Kate Middleton printed on the tube...
Something tells me this stuff doesn't have Her Majesty The Queen's approval.
I started out my day with the best breakfast in London at Pret...
It's heaven on a baguette!
The Egg & Roasted Tomatoes Baguette is so amazing that I ate a very light dinner last night so I'd be hungry enough to eat two. My biggest fear is that one day I'll come to London and they won't be making them anymore. For lunch I went back so I could have the Carrot & Humous Crunch Baguette. For dinner I went back yet again so I could have a Mozarella & Pesto Toastie. As usual, every single thing I've ever eaten at Pret has been delicious. And I love that they have so many vegetarian-friendly options. I keep hoping that Seattle will get a Pret, but in the USA it's just New York, DC, and Chicago for now.
Every trip to London I rave about how much I love the Johnston typeface which is used on all of the city's public transportation logos and signage. It's highly readable, yet somehow manages to be sublimely beautiful at the same time. Every time I see it, I fall in love all over again...
You can read more about ohnston at Wikipedia!
Hands-down my favorite sans-serif font of all time. If I ever redesign my blog, this is the typeface I'll be using.
The weather in London has been pretty much shit. It's been windy, cold, and rainy all day long. Seattle has a reputation for rain, but I've found London to be a much drearier place, weather-wise...
Still surprised when I hear tourists call this "London Bridge"... IT'S TOWER BRIDGE, YOU GITS!
The good thing about this is when the sun comes out in London, it's glorious (just like Seattle). I've had my share of beautiful London sunny days, so the weather hasn't bothered me too much.
Look Left. Look Right. Look Left. Look Right. Look Left!
And that's all she wrote from London. Tomorrow morning early, early, early I head back to the airport for my connecting flight. I'm hoping for better weather at my final destination. If I wanted cold, windy, and wet... I would have stayed at home.
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AT risk of heresy and the unleashing of your rage at me, I don’t like the idea of a giant Apple store at Covent Garden. I remember when Covent Garden was all fun funky little shops and markets, and I get a bit sad when every time I go to London, now, it’s taken over more and more by chains and high street shops who make their stores bigger and bigger, lessening the choice and the fun of discovery. I can get any of that Covent Garden stuff at any mall, now, and it used to be unique.
A giant Apple store? At Covent Garden? Meh. AT least its better than the Disney store, I suppose.
If I’d known you had that much time in London I’d have joined you for a bit!
This is probably not so useful now, but on Foursquare there’s an exploring London badge with the History Channel. I think you would have got it, but you would have needed to follow the History Channel on Foursquare first.
Gowalla looks nicer than Foursquare but it’s not so good outside major tourist areas.
Would love to get stuck in London for a day!
Were it not for the Reserves, I was going to go to a conference there in May with my work wife, but he’s going to instead have to go without me. *sob*
And the baguette sounds delicious. WAH. Now I want one.
Damn it! Does there have to be mayo on EVERYTHING?
Coincidentally this showed up in my feed reader today.
Sounds like you may want a copy on a card to hand out…
Maybe the queen is collecting all the plates her self :p
Argh, so now I have another social network thing to check in on. I like this one. I’ve really been using four-square the last week or two and now I see this (I’ve seen it, but just ignored it until now).
I do see they kind of integrate, but I’ll have to see how well that really works outside…