Traveling to London was relatively painless and after agreeing that Schipol was the best airport, we were ready to tackle the land of the Beatles, Buckingham Palace and fish and chips.
We immediately found our hostel (David picked a pretty good one: Clink 261) and dumped our stuff and went for a walk. Our walk ended up taking us to West End to look at the half price tickets. We ended up seeing Top Hat, a musical inspired by the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie by the same title. It was a wonderful show. The tap dance numbers were amazing! Definitely in the ballpark for what we came to do.
The next day (Thursday), we spent more time orienting ourselves to the greater London area and stopped by Madame Tussaud’s and met some people. You might recognize some of them.
I also got to finally try Ben’s Cookies. My friend Katie, who spent the first year of her university in London, among all of her other advice made me promise that I would try a cookie and a milkshake from this gourmet cookie place. And it was heavenly. Thank you, Katie!
We also got to see another play for cheap, this time the critically acclaimed Wicked. It was the third time I have seen it, but David never had and it’s one of my all time favorites.
Friday, we decided to add some culture to our lives. We spent the morning losing ourselves in the Victoria & Albert Museum as well as the the National History museum. I almost wish we got to spend more time there, if only to people watch. But we had to make it across London to our host during the London Swing Festival.
We are staying with a very nice married couple, Rhian and Stu, who are wonderful enough to let us crash in their spare room for the weekend.
The first night of the festival was all of the competitions with short social dance breaks in between. And I mean ALL of the competitions. It was very impressive just how quickly they went through prelims of jack-and-jills and solo charleston, all of the showcases, balboa, fast and furious, strictly lindy AND be able to do the finals AND announce the winners before midnight.
Saturday was spent collecting ourselves and figuring out what the next couple of weeks would entail. David had a moment where he wasn’t sure what the next step of the project (that brought us to Europe in the first place) would be. Luckily it was all sorted by the time it was time to dance.
The leader of the Shirt Tail Stompers was back with his sextet(?) and I had some of my best dances yet!
Sunday was designated “tourist” day, where we planned to go to the Globe Theatre, the London Eye (for which we already had vouchers) and the Tate Modern.
Unfortunately, we did not account for our laziness, not to mention the extraordinarily nice day, which brought out all the other London visitors in droves. The Globe Theatre was sold out by the time we got there, the wait for the eye was over forty-five minutes, so all we really got to do was the Tate Modern.
But we did get some fantastic shots with Big Ben and a lovely walk, so I guess it all even out. Especially when you factor in another trip to Ben’s Cookies. 😉