Day 4 started on a somber note. While I was making my morning tea, James shared with me that my beloved Squeaky had passed away. I had expected this to happen – I knew there was no way she was going to survive my honeymoon – but I was still devastated. Day 4 has been a lot of off and on tears through London. Thank god for sunglasses folks. Who knew a tiny little critter could move you this much?
Let’s move on from the really sad thought to the specifics of the day. Keep in mind that I was an emotional mess throughout most of it. To the point that by 10 pm I was walking around our rented flat, drinking wine out of the bottle and talking to my mom on Google Voice. That’s how it was going to roll, and I’m not going to fight that feeling. But I am going to need to buy another bottle of wine.
James and I had planned absolutely nothing. We left the day open to do whatever we fancied and honestly, it was a lot like any other day in Boston, but in a new city. Prior to heading into the city center, we explored Fulham by doing a three mile run. Every morning there’s a farmer market outside – including every type of egg you could ever want to buy.
We wrapped up our morning with breakfast on the back patio, which this flat has access to and is my favorite part about it. I’m planning to take every meal out here weather permitting.
After figuring out that the Tube didn’t take our credit cards, we forked over half our cash to buy Oyster cards to get around. There was no one working at the station to help us but two separate men came up and asked if we needed any assistance. Oh the English, always helpful!
We headed to Kings Cross Station. I had a mission to check out Platform 9 3/4. Guys, Platform 9 3/4 is a sellout. There’s a line, a bunch of “professionals” working the line and they charge you for the picture they took! I was in no mood to stand in a 25+ person line, have my picture taken after I spent the morning crying and have someone put a scarf around my neck that probably thousands maybe millions of other people have wrapped around theres. Ew. So we left, but I creepily took a picture of this kid being roped in to commemorate the journey.
By now it was noon and James was ravenous. Sadness does a lot to suppress the appetite, but I finally saw something that I had not seen since arriving in Europe: Gluten Free Options. At Hummus Brothers. James is not a fan of hummus, but too bad! The place was clean, based almost entirely on chickpeas and would probably do quite well in the US (hint hint). I cried into my plate of hummus, but was still able to shovel in a good portion of the chicken and avocado they mixed in it, with gluten free bread that is.
We started to make our way towards Picadilly Circus and I spotted a record store (these don’t seem to be in the US much these days – but the British must love themselves some hard copy CDs and DVDs – the place was packed). I was sent with one mission: find the Mooshi Monster movie for Natalie. Oh and find that movie I did. I was SO excited (it was the last copy) and it was the first time I felt happiness that day, that I wasn’t even bothered by the judgmental stares of the sales clerk. Yes I’m buying a children’s anime movie. It’s not available in the US. No I have no DVD player to play it but I will figure this out!
We continued on and did the usual sight seeing routine. We were mistaken for locals and asked directions (when one uses a map, one uses it secretly).
We had one last required stop for the day – Whole Foods – in which my aunt suggested and heavily recommended I visit. While I realize that the purpose of going to a Whole Foods in London is for access to some amazing cheeses, I was over the moon with their gluten free options. I had to refrain from buying every type of biscuit. Did you know that they make pumpkin almond GLUTEN FREE biscuits here? Or butter crunch? Or candied ginger? They make glorious GF blueberry lemon cupcakes with Swiss meringue buttercream. They have a wide variety of coconut water, such as CHAI TEA FLAVORED. I may or may not need to go back dependent on my consumption of said items.
We dragged our tired feet back to the flat (and have figured out the Tube quite well I must add) to rest up a bit before dinner. We had reservations at Pizzarro which was the only restaurant that we were going to that I had not had on my bucket list for a few years. This however was a result of some productive Googling – apparently the food at Pizzarro was to die for. The meal itself was not nearly as good as Sjavargrillid and I’m not sure if anything can top that (but we have three more places to try before I give final verdict!), but the food was incredible and the wait staff knowledgable about allergies and what is permitted. The service however… was just plain strange. No one asked if I wanted a refill on my glass of wine (and didn’t come within earshot to call them over). They took a good 20 minutes to get our check while a huge line was building up outside. It was like going to the Friendly Toast in London.
But I digress. Before Pizzarro we decided to check out the London Bridge and London Tower (which we will return to, to go inside!). In the hour we were home resting I drank a lot of water. This was now a pressing manner, and we had 50 minutes before our reservation. This led James and I on a wild hunt for a bathroom. There was none in the mall. Pubs were MOBBED because it was a Friday night, and so sneaking in was just not going to happen because you couldn’t even get through the doorway. I scared a monk changing in a Pret a Manger restroom (so clearly left without going) and made nasty remarks to people who wouldn’t let me use the restroom (remember, I am emotionally unstable at this point, hungry and really needing to pee). James spotted some porta-potties across a park and bless him, ran across to see if they were open. They weren’t, but a family bathroom next to them was.
Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about European toilets. None of them have sensical flushing devices. What happened to automatic or a handle? Everything here is a button – one for liquid, one for solid; or a rope; or a single door bell button; etc. I thought nothing of it when I pulled the red rope hanging in the middle of this stall – until an alarm started blaring. Oh, the panic rope. Crap. There was also real handle to flush. And so I left and briskly walked away. Hopefully pressing a reset button 10 times did the trick – otherwise I’m sorry to whomever had to check that on a Friday night!