Wednesday, May 19, 2010

22/365 Off to London!

Friday afternoon in England brought an end to our work week. We decided that I couldn't venture to the England for the first time without seeing London, so we used our remaining 30 hours of free time to see the city!

But first, we had to get there from York. We took the train, a public transportation system that is reliable and well-utilized in the UK. It was a fantastic way to travel. In the photo above, check out the massive number of bicycles parked at the York train station. It makes me long for more transportation options in the US!

We got a direct route from York to London, so it took about two hours. We arrived in London at King's Cross Station, which I can't hear without thinking of Harry Potter. Our train didn't arrive via platform 9 3/4, but it was fun to get there all the same.

We made a quick stop at our hotel in Paddington, dropped our luggage, and set out to make use of our first afternoon and evening in the city. It started with a brisk walk from Paddington, around Hyde Park, to Piccadilly Circus. My client insisted that I needed to make a stop at Fortnum & Mason, a long-standing luxury retail store in the area. There I bought my one souvenir to bring home: fancy English tea! My love of tea was only heightened during this trip across the pond.

After wandering through the aisles of ritzy chocolates, sweets, teas, coffees, wines, and kitchen items, my stomach was vocal about needing dinner. We wandered through the Piccadilly area in search of a good restaurant, but we ran into a little difficulty. When you're not familiar with the city, it's hard to know where the niche areas are -- some for good shopping, some for after-work pubs, some for dining. And we were in the shopping arena.

But then we stumbled upon a fun restaurant that my boss had enjoyed once during his previous trip to the UK. Having exhausted our search for other options, we entered Yo! Sushi.

You can't walk into this restaurant without smiling!

I confirmed that there were, indeed, plenty of vegetarian options on the menu (to accommodate my dislike of seafood), and we grabbed a seat. The fun concept? A narrow conveyor belt continually circulates your options around the room. See something you like? Snatch the brightly colored plate from the line and enjoy!

At the end of the meal, a server comes along to tally the number of colored plates that you have. Four green? Two pink? Three purple? Prices are set based on color.

I really enjoyed trying some new items and learning that I can find tasty options at a sushi restaurant. 

After dinner? We headed back to the hotel to rest up for our one full day in London! Tell me, what would you do with just one day in such an expansive city?

Top: Canon 40D, 1/250s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 2:00 p.m.
Bottom: iPhone

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