Day 2: Monday, November 16

Arriving in London

Dinner and breakfast were served during the 7-hour flight from Toronto. We finally reached London Gatwick at about 06:30 local time. The weather was pouring with rain during landing.

I passed through Customs, collected my luggage and finally found the Gatwick Express train after much searching (I had the good sense to buy a prebooked return ticket before I left home). I rode the train into London Victoria and was lucky/unfortunate (?) enough to arrive smack in the middle of Monday morning’s 8:00 rush hour…. YIKES!… Victoria station makes Toronto’s Union Station look like a retirement home.

I caught the Underground from Victoria to Euston Station at the height of this commuter mayhem and made my way to the Euro Hotel (always awesome!) on leafy Cartwright Gardens:

Cartwright Gardens, Bloomsbury
The Euro Hotel, 53 Cartwright Gardens

Ah, the Euro… how comforting and welcoming. I arrived at about 9:00 a.m. but staff let me check in early regardless. For this visit I have Room #22 (single room, no en-suite, 2nd floor (3rd floor in North American parlance):

I got unpacked and laid down for about 2 hours (it had been a long time since I’d had a good sleep!).

After waking I had a refreshing shower, then went out along Marchmont Street looking for something to eat – I wound up at the Valencia Cafe, which turned out to be quite the greasy spoon. After eating I went to Gay’s The Word bookstore (66 Marchmont) and picked up the latest guides and browsed their books. Leaving there, I wandered the area, stopping by the Brunswick Centre

… before moving on to Russell Street and some of the outlying streets. I stayed close to the hotel, though, as I was tired and jet lagged, and not at my best in terms of watching for the wild traffic – vehicular and pedestrian.

Returning from my Bloomsbury wanderings at about 5:00 p.m. I was starting to get quite hungry, so I paid a little visit to the North Sea Fish Restaurant (London’s best seafood restaurant in my opinion) on Leigh Street. I opted for a takeaway order of cod, which came with a ridiculously HUGE portion of chips. I ate my fish and chips (utterly delicious, by the way) in the Euro’s dining room and stunk up the entire first floor. Tee hee…

I could no longer fight the jet lag so it was off to bed very early tonight (7:30 p.m.). Absolutely exhausted! What a full day it had been…

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