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Saturday, September 1, 2012

White Wedding

Tube ride
After a canceled flight, a day lost off the front end of our trip, out a prepaid night at a hotel room in Marylebone, but completed a email negotiation via iPhone to use our idle night as credit towards a suite at Ten Manchester Hotel, followed by a night of drinking bourbon and milkshakes, were never more happy to finally arrive in London and ride the underground to our hotel.

After an all night flight and very little sleep, we checked into our hotel to shower, eat, and crash for an hour. Post food/hot shower/jet laged/middle of the day naps are the best, the absolute best. After waking and taking another scorching hot shower we set off for afternoon tea at Browns. Seriously, we had afternoon tea in London, totally awesome. After asking for and receiving absolutely horrendous complex directions at the front desk (they were incredible helpful and nice, but really pushed a jacked up bus route), we walked down Browns. We ate, a ton. Less the cakes and sweets, but the freakin scones and butter were amazing. After we set to walk around the gardens to see the remnants of the Queen's Jubilee, followed by a beer at a Sam Smith pub, and a struggle to find something to eat later on a rainy Sunday night we finished with fish and chips, followed by watching the Edward Norton version of the Incredible Hulk. Like I said, it was raining, and cold.
London tea
Beers at Sam Smith
The next morning we hit breakfast then had to figure out how to get to the international train station named Kings Crossing or something. This was such a vacation trip, we were so ill prepared. In fact, it was almost bliss that our flight was canceled because we actually took the time to figure out how to get from Paddington station to our hotel. Which strangely enough we did not prepare for ahead of time, not out of lack of time or busyness, we just did not feel like it. Regardless we walked outside to head to the underground which we would take to the train station, and it was pouring rain. We asked the front desk to call a taxi, to which they wondered if we would like a city taxi or a private car, both were the same price. We went for the private car and were greeted shortly by a well dressed man wearing white driving gloves who drove a Mercedes with heated leather seats. Like I said, it was raining, and cold. 

We hopped in and set off to the train station. Along the way the rain really opened up and turned into a proper deluge. As we waited at a traffic signal, warm and dry due to our heated seats I saw a pair of wet scraggly travelers shuffling their way through the city with backpacks and trying to keep themselves drop with a map. As I watched these two from inside the car I through of the misery and endurance travel can bring, I felt as if I was missing out this time sitting in the back of the car not forging ahead through adventure and persevering through challenge. Then it started to rain so hard I literally lost sight of these people because there was so much water in the air and I thought f$*k that, riding in this car to the train station is way better than walking in the rain.

At the train station we sat in a nice lobby waiting for our high speed Eurostar train to Paris.The high speed ride under the channel was fast, high speed through the French countryside was amazing, and being able to make it to Paris in a little over two hours was the best ever.

After getting lost in Paris, and having to take a photo of a bus map, we made our way through Montmartre to Hotel Le Squara, which to our surprise was directly behind the Moulin Rouge. Aside from the scummy adult novelty shops, North African food stalls, and the ever present wholesale crap merch vendors, the area was really nice with cool boutiques, bakeries, brasseries, and tons of people relaxing and drinking. After checking in we took the subway on a tight schedule see the Monet's Water Lilies at the Musée de l'Orangerie. We made it right before close and were able to enjoy the beauty and massiveness of the paintings, and I was sneaky and took an illegal photo. After that Paris was low key, food, wine, wine, croissants, more croissant, food, and more wine.
Our improvised Paris map
The Waterlilies
After two days of this bliss, we went back to the Eurostar, back to London and stopped Farringdon Market to have a butchers breakfast (or lunch) at the Cock Tavern. Seriously this stuff was good, I could have eaten three plates. Next was tube/train/ferry ride and napping to IOW for Karri and Matt's wedding.
The butchers breakfast
The ferry ride to IOW
IOW was pretty amazing, very English by the seaside tranquil beauty. We arrived at the ferry dock and picked us up in his quirky estate. We proceeded to drive around the island, drink beer, eat amazing seafood, mountain bike, and participate in some minor wedding preparation. We relocated from the senior citizen section of the island to the Priory Bay hotel, equip with helicopter pads. We were supposed to stay in the yurts, but the shitty European summer was due to produce more high wind storms and the hotel manager was concerned a large tree branch might break and fall on our yurt. So for three days we spend our time walking along the beach, catching up with people, and charging tons of beer to our room.

The wedding went off without a hitch. I was designated the official double decker bus bartender to and from the church, much other than that I was told to stand around with a beer, look nice, and chat with some very odd IOW locals I was seated with. The unlimited wine Karri and Matt bought for the wedding helped get me through dinner. The rest of the night went as follows:

- Nicolette made a killer speech.
- The music started and Matt danced like a English man without any rythme, spilling beer all over himself.
- Tom picked up Vicky, dropped her, Vicky poured her beer on Tom's head.
- Beer pints were smashed.
- Nicolette convinced the DJ to play Five Years Time, then danced like a hippie
- The night ended with Nicolette, Vicky, and myself deciding it was a good idea to have a 3 AM night cap of 21 year old scotch. I could not drink anything else, so I dumped it and we went to bed.
Oh yeah, Nicolette's bridesmaid gift was a pair of Hunter Wellies, she had to test them out on the seaside
Solo beer time
A rainy walk to dinner
The Bridesmaid
Us looking awesome
Bridesmaid photos by the sea
There are not any words to describe this dancing
The kids hanging out again
The next day was an exhausting trip back to London in a post alcohol haze, hangover dinner cure of pot roast, and a stroll around London. Two times in a row we caught London for a single night on a Sunday. So our walk was quite but sort of nice to walk around the city when it is so peaceful and quite. All in all a pretty awesome nine day trip.
Big Ben
Phone call
I bought a suit a few years ago that was tailored on Savile Row

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