Our flight from Tokyo to London was "allowed by the Russians" to fly the shorter route over the Artic Circle. The ground was visible nearly the entire way over China, Siberia, and the Artic Circle - in early evening moonlight! There were mountains, lakes, rivers, all in white, and even a small, lit up settlement. The vision of ths frozen world was one of the most magical of our entire trip!
We had our most expensive, smallest and dirtiest hotel room in London. The disenchantment stopped there, as we found the city absolutely vital and thriving. I believe the tremendous influx of diversity has stirred up the British city marvelously since I was last here at age 17.
By accident, while trying to locate the place we found on the internet that sells the toothpaste we like, we discovered a great neighborhood nearby full of fantastic shops and restaurants of every imaginable cuisine (Marylebone High Street, near Marble Arch and Bond Street). We had lunch there with my grandniece, Mary Tarpley, who is continuing her serious ballet studies from Interlochen Performing Arts High School at Marie Rampert's school here.
After much wandering around and scarf shopping in the chilly wind, we grabbed our chance to see Martin Scorcese's "The Departed." We forgot about the new law which closes down the restaurants and bars at 11:30pm, about the time we emerged from the film hungry and thirsty. We found out that if we walked from Marble Arch through Piccadilly to Soho, there was a restaurant that stayed open till 3:00am. Once again representing the older generation, we had a very hip late-night dinner and walked all the way back (about 2 miles) at 3:00am.
We were pretty whipped Sunday morning - a combination of jet-lag and general fatigue. We dragged ourselves to Victoria Station and caught the #11 bus, which takes you past Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's. Once we were front and center on the top deck of the bus, we were too lazy to move, so rode back and forth, missing our stop to return for our bags. Eventually we made it to our friends' house in Chiswick. Roch and Christine Pellerin and their four beautiful children are longtime friends from Manhattan days. We attended their heavenly French wedding in 1990, and loved this reunion with them.
The next phase of our trip began the next morning when we met two of Newton's business partner-owners at the airport for one of several cheap flights on these new airlines that take you all over Europe for practically nothing. The four of us flew to Krakow for around $25 each.
Poland coming up!