Friday, February 21st, 1997 London, England
After going through customs it was very nice to see a card with our name held by Leonard, our driver. Very nice van with plenty of room! Hope our rental is the same size. Jim sat up front and took lessons all the way to the hotel….driving on the left side of the road will be very different. But, the speed limits are in mph just as in America instead of kilometers which will help. Leonard pointed out landmarks on the way and it was a very enjoyable trip. Barbara had exchanged some money at the airport, so she picked up the tip at the hotel for Leonard. Our exchange rate during the trip was approximately £1.62 for $1.00. We charged most of the expenses and learned to use the ATM Machine for cash.
Finally in our rooms! After considerable negotiations, we managed to get our rooms rather close and on the same floor. We all unpacked, Randy and Patti found that they’d forgotten all their books on England. Jim found that he had four tubes of toothpaste and no toothbrush. He’s also missing the liner of his top coat. We’re all suffering from sleep depravation by this time. Randy, Patti and Jim joined together to go find a restaurant in the area for lunch. They found a great one nearby and had a nice lunch at Hbarbinino before coming back to the hotel and a nap.
About 5 pm we all dressed warmly; it had been a very nice day with plenty of sunshine; but as the sun went down the chill went up. We walked down Oxford Street looking at all the shops. Went into Selfridges’ (huge department store covering a full block) and Patti purchased a Burberry raincoat for Kemery (we all liked it better than the London Fog coat). They had it shipped home so that we wouldn’t have to deal with it for the next three weeks. It will not arrive until after we get home! Saving the VAT should pay for the cost of shipping. We then started to seriously look for a place to eat. Took quite awhile but we finally found a quaint little Italian Restaurant called Villa Richi and had a delightful Italian dinner before walking back to the hotel for an early night. Picked up cookies for Randy plus juice and cokes for everyone at a local liquor/market store. We are doing our own thing tomorrow (the British Museum) and Barbara, Randy and Patti are off to Portobello for the Saturday market and then possibly Herrods. Plans are to meet at 6:30 pm for dinner and possibly the theater.