I woke up and looked out the window, hoping that the rain had stopped and, surprisingly, it had. I was very happy to see that and I wanted to have breakfast at a little cafe just down from Chapter. After packing my bag for the day I set off down the street to the Pompidou Cafe where I ordered a breakfast of the same name. I was asked as to my choice of drink, and not being a coffee fan I requested tea. I sat outside and was brought my tea while I wrote yesterday’s post. Shortly thereafter I was brought my plate, which was piled high with beans, toast, eggs, a tomato, a sausage and bacon. This was a great start to the day and I was plum full following that meal.
Following this, it was time to attend class for a bit and discuss healthcare in the U.S. versus the U.K. In two hours we got through 15 slides… hm, we may talk too much but we are American after all. That class was the only scheduled event other than a parliament tour that we had at 2:15. So at noon we broke for lunch and I went down and tried a deli and patisserie called La Roccia, I enjoyed a mozzarella and tomato sandwich with a pesto based sauce and it was phenomenal. I also had an Oreo cheesecake but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting as it seemed a little rubbery.
Following lunch I was charged with navigating us all to parliament square for our tour. We wanted to be there early for security checks and such so at 13:00 we headed on our way to the London Underground. With the exception of myself and Kelly, the other 8 members of our group hadn’t yet taken the tube. It was interesting coordinating the group as we had to make an interchange at one station before arriving at Westminster station. We emerged from the underground to the nice drizzle that we expected from London.
Once across the street we found our way to the Cromwell Gate to the parliament building and took some photos before meeting with a final member of our group. Once all gathered we approached the security checkpoints and were greated by a very humorous constable who talked about forbidden items and if we didn’t disclose them now and turn them over, then we would be unhappy come security. But we all passed through just fine. While waiting for a couple of other to finish their check we talked with an officer who knew where North Dakota was. Tanner explained a little more and the gentleman said he knew geography and the location of ND, I got a chuckle at Tanner’s expense.
We entered Westminster Hall and awaited our tour, which while waiting we ran into our tour guide from the day before. Our tour guide, Tony, felt sorry for us knowing Brian and promised to give us an excellent tour. Unfortunately, most of the tour had a ban on photography. There was plenty of gorgeous things to see, with hundreds of frescos and lots of history. We learned tidbits on tradition and ceremony as well as how the parliament functioned. It was interesting for me to learn that the House of Lords is a nominated body from the prime minister and not based on the blood lines and titles.
Following the tour most returned to Chapter House but I wanted to see more of London, so despite the rain I walked many places. I wanted to find Lock & Co. Hatters, featured in the movie “Kingsmen: Secret Service.” I did visit but as a student I can’t afford anything from there. I then continued to wander the streets around there (I am not a vagrant) and stopped into the Berreta gallery and found my way to Piccadilly Circus. I stopped into the Boots store there and continued to wander. I eventually found my way to Hyde Park and took the tube back to King’s Cross, during rush hour, which was an experience in and of itself.
On my way back to Chapter from King’s Cross I stopped for dinner at Honest Burgers, where I had an Honest Burger with Red Leicester cheese. It was a phenomenal burger and a nice atmosphere. The bartender was quite nice as well and I will be back there if I need another easy dinner. After returning to Chapter I deceived to buy tickets to Wicked on Monday and I look forward to seeing it at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. There is so much more to say but not enough time but I will continue to do all I can to get the most out of my time here.
Martin “Mixy” McNichols
Until we meet again