Sorry for the lack in blog entries for so long! We got behind and then wanted to catch up, and then just continued to get more and more behind until now I think it’s almost pointless to try and catch up! However, I will try and upload some of the photos from our trips since November so that at least you can see them! As for text, you’re probably just going to miss out because it’s way too much to write catch up. However, I promise that we’ll be better about updating from now on, and we’ll try not to get so far behind again!
Alright, so March 2008 was full of houseguests at Casa Brock. Our friend Craig McPherson, Andrew’s fraternity brother and my former coworker from SouthTrust Bank (who, by the way, introduced us – thanks, Craig!) came to stay with us for 10 days. It was a great feeling of home for us. Craig got in town on a Friday while Andrew and I had to work, but Craig’s British friend Liam met him at the airport and made sure he made it to our place okay. Andrew worked from home so that he would be here when they arrived, and they all went to lunch at out local pub, the Fulham Mitre. That evening when I got home from work we all met Liam and his friends at another local hangout, Lloyd’s Bar in the Fulham Broadway tube station. We ended up making a late night of it after that with a quick dinner at the Elk and then we hit up the Slug @ Fulham. The next morning we got up and took Craig to Portobello Market, one of my favourite things to do on a Saturday. Craig bought some souvenirs, and we had another pub lunch while wandering. That night we met several of our friends up at High Street Kensington at our favourite little piano bar, the Live Lounge. Liam came and met us out, as well. A good time was had by all!
The next morning, I really wanted to take Craig to have a proper British Sunday roast, something Andrew and I had yet to do. Liam decided to stick around for lunch, as well, and we went up to Holborn because we were going to hit the British Museum afterward. It was then that we realized that hardly any pubs were open up there! After wandering, starving, for so long, we finally found one and had a lovely Sunday roast with steamed veggies, lots of gravy and Yorkshire pudding (which, I have to say, is not what I though it would be). After lunch Liam left us, and we went to the British Museum. Andrew and I had never been, so were looking forward to it, but I have to say that after such a heavy lunch, we all would have rather had a nap! We struggled around the British Museum for a while and then went home and took the much needed nap.
Monday morning Andrew and I had to head back to work, and Liam met up with Craig to go sightseeing around London. That night, Andrew and I took him to dinner and a show. We saw Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. It was really cute.
Tuesday Craig took a coach tour by himself to Stonehenge, Bath and Windsor. And on Wednesday Andrew took off work and took him to the National Gallery and Trafalger Square and some other places that Craig and Liam had missed on Monday. That night Andrew’s coworker Nigel, who takes us to the sports matches here, had gotten two tickets to the Chelsea match. Craig and Andrew were supposed to go together, but then Craig ended up not feeling very well and didn’t want to go, so I got to go instead. Chelsea won, and then Craig started feeling much better after a lazy night in. Yay!
So the next day, we took Craig on the Eurostar to head to Paris for the night. We took a guided tour of Paris, starting out on a freezing cold double decker sightseeing bus. They took us to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
Then we took a one-hour cruise on the River Siene and then headed over to the Louvre, where we spent a couple of hours hitting the highlights.
That night we went to dinner at Chez les Anges, a chic restaurant that offered sophisticated French cuisine on the Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg between the Rues de Grenelle and St-Dominique. I ate frog legs, and guess what. They do taste like chicken! After dinner we went to see the Eiffel Tower at night.
On Friday morning, we went to breakfast at Ladurée, a turn-of-the-19th-century salon de thé par excellence. Located on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, it was posh and ultra-Parisian but not snobbish, and they served the best French toast any of us had ever tasted! The toast and pastries were very reasonably priced, but I should warn anyone who decides to go there – don’t order the fresh-squeezed orange juice! It was more expensive than our orders of toast!! We also saw Tom Bergeron filming an episode of America’s Funniest Videos just outside the café. After breakfast, we walked down the Champs-Elysées all the way to l’Arc de Triomphe and then took the Metropolitaine to Notre Dame, or the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris (Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris). We toured around inside and then stood in line for forever to go to the top of tower for a little chat with the gargoyles and Quasimodo.
After Notre Dame, I dragged the boys up to the Latin Quarter so that I could see Café Delmas (the former site of La Chope), where a young Ernest Hemingway ate and drank at this neighborhood café. We had a pint in the square and then we wandered on up the street to get a look at 74 Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, where Ernest and Hadley Hemingway lived on the fourth floor of a working-class building from the beginning of 1922 to the summer of 1923. It was their first apartment in Paris, lovingly recalled in A Moveable Feast, one of my favourite books.
Then it was time for us to leave Paris, so we gathered our stuff from hotel and headed back to Gare du Nord station for our departing train. Our train arrived in London late Friday night at Kings Cross station, so, being the Harry Potter fans the three of us are, we wandered over to see Platform 9¾. It was actually kind of disappointing!
We had dinner in the station and then headed home. By the time we arrived back in London Friday night, we were all exhausted, and we struggled with it the rest of the weekend. On Saturday we went up to Sports Café and watched the rugby game, and then that night we wanted to take Craig out because it was his last real night, but then we were all so tired that we ended up just going to dinner and then having a couple more drinks at our one of our favourite pubs up at Gloucester (pronounced Gloster) Road. On Sunday, we were still pretty beat and did nothing all day, and Craig left for home on Monday morning before Andrew and I even got up for work.
Lauren McDonnell, one of my best friends from high school, came in town that Thursday. She lives in Manhatten and works for Yahoo, and she was in Isreal on business. While she was there, she went and saw Jerusalem, and I now I want to go, as well! It sounded amazing! When she arrived in London around lunchtime, but went straight into the Yahoo office and worked until the end of the day. Then I met her at Earl’s Court and we headed down to Fulham and dropped her stuff off at the house before heading to the Mitre for dinner. Andrew was having celebratory drinks with some of his coworkers. You may not all know this, but he recently got promoted to manager! Everyone who was promoted this time around was heading for drinks that night, so Andrew met McD and I afterward for a late dinner, which gave Lauren and I time beforehand to catch up after not having seen each other since our wedding. Friday we all three had to work, but that night we met several of our friends for dinner at Octave8, a jazz restaurant / bar and then later wandered to a couple of pubs and ended up down the street at our friends house until horribly late! Lauren and I stayed up chatting until five in the morning. Needless to say, we were pooped the next morning, but we got up and headed to Portobello Market anyway and then came home to nap before our evening festivities. I had made us a booking at Buona Sera at the Jam on King’s Road, an adorable Italian restaurant with loft seating. After dinner, we wandered in the pouring rain trying to make it to the Hollywood Arms (we got lost and went out of our way before finally hailing a cab because I forgot my umbrella; Andrew let Lauren and I use his, and he got soaked), where we meeting the Noris and friends for drinks. It was the Noris going away party. They’ll be moving back to the States soon, and we’re all so sad to see them go!
On the way home we stopped at the American Café and ordered late-night French fries and onion rings (so not on my diet!) before heading off to bed! Sunday morning we slept late and had coffee, while Andrew cooked eggs and bacon and grits and toast. Then we just laid around the house and did nothing (well, Andrew took the dogs to meet the woman who will be caring for them while we’re in Prague, but McD and I did nothing). We were going to do some touristy things, but the weather was just complete crap that day: so cold and rainy and windy. You know, your typical London winter day, so we opted to stay out of it and just hang out. Lauren didn’t really want to see Big Ben or Parliament anyway (or so she insisted). I just told her she’d have to come back before we leave for a proper visit when we’ll have time to do things like that!
Anyway, so that was March for us. We’re heading to Prague at the end of March, just Andrew and I, and we can’t wait because we hear it’s a beautiful city. I promise to post another update upon our return.