On our second day in London, everyone seemed to wake up at the break of dawn. Well, almost everyone. Lena, who did not get any sleep during the flights, got to sleep in a little bit while Karol and Keane snuck out for a run around the city.
While I was figuring out how to make our blog look pretty and sourcing pictures from the group, Naomi looked up places to get a morning coffee. As soon as she was ready to head out for a little java, Michał – IMMEDIATELY AND WITHOUT ANY DELAY – stopped working on the blog and was ready to go with her. As it turned out, we ended up leaving at the same time as Bowe. His luggage was held up the the airport and he had to go back to Heathrow to pick it up.
Right as we exited the apartment, we ran into Keane and Karol, who were just on their way back. We went to get coffee together and then headed back to make some breakfast. As Naomi ruled over the kitchen with an iron fist, Keane and Karol got to rearranging “Little Minstrel Boy,” a tune that Naomi, Karol, and I sang together on our choir tour to Ireland with Tim Carney.
Nobody knows exactly when, but Lena eventually woke up. We then sat down to a gourmet breakfast, courtesy of Chef Naomi. After the tasty meal, the girls figured out how to operate the laundry machine, while the boys sang a little bit more. The laundry cycle took quite a bit of time. We ended up hanging our clothes around the apartment partly to save time and partly because Bowe was afraid his underwear would shrink.
House chores complete, we headed out to explore. We took the underground to the city center and then walked across the Tower Bridge. We met up with Naomi’s friend, Meghann, at the Horniman riverside restaurant where we also attempted to watch our first World Cup game while Bowe’s waiter struggled to the right kind of salmon for half an hour.
After, we went to a market, where Michał made the mistake of sampling a street clam, duck, cheese, and chased it all with a cheap cider (what transpired later shall not be detailed in this blog). After the market adventures, Naomi and Bowe attempted – unsuccessfully – to figure out the bikeshare system, while Karol, Keane, Lena, and Michał attempted – unsuccessfully – to access a ritzy lookout spot at the rooftop of a skyscraper, only to be turned down because of a ritzy dress code. Instead, the four climbed The Monument – a tower commemorating the 1666 London fires, which destroyed two thirds of the city.
When the six of us reunited, we crossed a few more bridges, checked out the gift shop at the Shakespeare Globe. We then decided to head to St. Paul's cathedral for the Evensong service. The cathedral was enormous and the choir sounded very nice – despite, as Bowe put it – cheating by including women in their ensemble. We were fortunate to sit in the pews in the choir and see (and hear) the singing from up close. On our way out Bowe was admiring the organ in hopes he could lay his fingers on it and Karol remembered singing most of the Evensong settings at St. Andrew’s cathedral under John Renke. Our visit at St. Paul’s cathedral was a nice break from an otherwise busy day.
Speaking of busy – we discovered that the underground gets crowded around 5:30 pm when everyone is coming back home and the squeeze was quite tight. Although the trip back was a little uncomfortable, getting home early allowed us to freshen up and – more importantly – secure seats at Prince Alfred’s – a local bar that was broadcasting the World Cup that evening. The Spain–Portugal game was very intense and as Karol and Michał were discussing the sport, Keane, Lena, Bowe, and Naomi had a blast people watching and discovering the European football fandom. The crowd was very lively and a group of Spain fans proved particularly animated and amusing, heckling, standing up, and even taking of their shirts after a goal!
After the game we did some shopping for snacks, Lena and Karol prepared a light dinner, and soon enough Keane’s snoring reminded all of us how jet-lagged and tired we were. Time to get some rest as and prepare for our departure to Rome. Stay tuned as our adventures continue with a RyanAir flight tomorrow!