Day 5, Wednesday January 9, Apsley House and Natural History Museum
Today Mark was nice to me and suggested that we go to the Apsley House, home of the first Duke of Wellington, built between 1771 and 1778. It was a gorgeous house but totally not our style. Yeah, like anyone was offering to let us live in it! From there it was a brisk walk to Harrods. I don’t get the appeal of Harrods, quite frankly. The building is nice but the way they display goods is strange and everything is so dang expensive. The food hall was pretty cool, though. If I lived in London I know I’d be tempted to buy some of that yummy stuff, but as it was with our non-functional refrigerator I knew it was out of the question. Mark did find some cool stuff (a shirt and a soft-sided briefcase for work) at an Old Navy-type store nearby, however.
We then headed to the Natural History Museum. I was able to spot a likely looking restaurant row where we found a real local-style pub (it was on a back street in a kind of residential area). The food was good, and I was able to share a beer with my baby (okay, it was only water in her sippy cup). The Museum was great, the building architecture was fantastic and one of the buildings nearby had at one time been a royal palace. The exhibits were great too-the Hall of Wonders was really cool and the dinosaur exhibit was good also. Unfortunately we could not give this museum nearly any of the time it deserved as I needed to head out to Guildford to get ready for my next two days of work. We got a taxi in front of the museum and then took it our hotel to pick up our luggage and then to Waterloo Station, where we boarded a train for Guildford. We didn’t time this little trip very well and it was now rush hour. The other commuters weren’t particularly thrilled that we and our stuff took up four seats, but oh well. Once we arrived a Guildford we really had a problem when Mark was not able to get the second set of bags off the train quickly enough and it very nearly left without him! Fortunately, a commuter held up the train and helped Mark off with the bags, and then proceeded to help us carry them to the taxi stand. I’ll say this for the British, they’re not as friendly as Americans but they’re a heck of a lot more helpful. I cannot count the number of times people offered to carry stuff, open doors, etc. It was a nice change!
The taxi drove us to our hotel. Unfortunately, my CEO has a thing for budget travel so this hotel suffered mightily in comparison to the Thistle. I was kicking myself for moving us from London. Not only was the journey a nightmare but Mark was basically stranded and our hotel was crappy! I should have just acted like a London commuter and taken myself on the train each morning. But there wasn’t much I could do about it now. We went out to dinner at a fancy pizza place where the staff fussed over Genevieve, so that helped somewhat.