I went to London and all I got was a lousy cold.
Somewhere over Iceland on my way back last night, I started to get a sore throat, runny nose and headache. Sleeping less than ten hours in three days will do that to a guy.
I shared a room with my parents which was a good idea in terms of saving money, but not in terms of getting rest. My father claims that he does not snore and, if we were only counting waking hours I would agree with him. I'm a light sleeper to begin with so I can't blame someone else's snoring for keeping me up. But even my earplugs, strong enough to block out the sound of a screeching subway, were no match for the nightime sounds of my dad. Still, I was excited to be in London and wouldn't let a little thing like exhaustion prevent me from making the most of my weekend there.
Our first two days were spent as real tourists and the beautiful weather allowed us to see most of the major sights: Buckingham Palace, the changing of the guard, St. James Park, Hyde Park, the British Museum, Harrods, the Tate Modern and Starbucks. Yes, that's right, Starbucks. Even this New Yorker couldn't believe how many locations the coffee giant had throughout London. As if the streets in the city aren't confusing enough, now even all the storefronts have the same green and white logo.
But what about the wedding? It was an exquisite affair, held in the historic St. Bride's church. The site (although not necessarily the actual building) has seen every major event in London's history, including the great plague and the 1666 Great Fire. The church was bombed in 1940 by the Luftwaffe and later rededicated by Queen Elizabeth after an extensive renovation. There's nothing even comparable that I can imagine in America, although when I was a kid I thought it was cool when my temple put up a basketball hoop in the parking lot.
After the service, guests were driven in double-decker buses to The Banqueting House, a building perhaps as historic as any in London. We ate and drank under ceilings painted by Rubens in a room that was, until the reign of James II, part of the main residence of the monarchy. It was not without a hint of irony that we danced to American pop songs only a few steps away from where Charles I was beheaded.
I was finally able to sleep on Sunday night when, after one hour of trying to sleep through the snoring, I tore the comforter off the bed, grabbed two pillows and made a nest for myself between the toilet and sink in the bathroom. There's nothing like the cool, hard feel of marble floors and the steady drip of a shower nozzle to lull you right to sleep. Except for the three times I was woken up and kicked out of the bathroom when my mom needed to use the loo, I slept quite comfortably.
But I'm back now, happy to see L and wishing she could have been there with me to experience the city. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sleep until Thursday.Posted by The Groom at April 20, 2004 11:35 AM