Scotland! London

[Continued from part eight.]

Day 1

We arrived in the dark; here’s what our street in London looks like:


My conference is supposed to be doors-open at 8:30am. Here’s what it looks like at 8:45:


While I’m working the booth and scavenging free drinks from other booths, Becky is off seeing the sights! Kensington Palace:


The gardens:


And the Victoria and Albert Museum:


Back home, our puppies are having a great time.


Becky grabbed every one of those touristy brochures in the hotel lobby, and a theater show caught her eye. Some of its selling points:

  • It has an amazing photograph.
  • It’s taken 5 years to make.
  • It’s been open for about a month.
  • Tori Amos wrote the music.
  • The director also did War Horse, which was excellent.

Obviously we had to see it, but the only night we could go was tonight. I bought the tickets on my laptop at lunchtime and kicked off at 4:30. We grabbed a train to Southwark (that’s “suth-uck” to you ‘Muricans), ate a fast dinner, and found our seats.


The show was AMAZING. We really can’t recommend it highly enough. If anyone reading this ever gets a chance to see this show, do it.

This also happened to be the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary, so on our way home, we were treated to a fireworks show (which doesn’t photograph well).


Day 2

For me, another quick breakfast and off to the conference. This thing is huge – there are something like 8,000 attendees, and the crowd is very diverse. About half the visitors to our booth asked “Why are you even here? Everybody knows about GitHub,” and the other half led with “What even is a GitHub?”


I gave my talk at 10:30 to an overflowing room, and was riding the endorphins the rest of the day.

For Becky, it was another day of touring! Today, it’s the Natural History Museum, a place we’ve been before, but haven’t done justice. This place, like seemingly all British museums, is enormous, and you can easily get lost in it for a week.


Random London sights:


After the conference ended, we met up with some of my coworkers for a delicious dinner in Camden. One of the hubbers set forth to recreate one of his San Francisco traditions: shots of fernet. We finally find an italian restaurant that has the stuff, and we line up all 8 shots. It’s bracing.


Day 3

The conference is over, so today is our day to be tourists together. We begin with breakfast at Tom’s Kitchen in posh Chelsea. The food is awesome, the coffee is lovely, and the photographs on the wall literally bring a tear to Becky’s eye.


Then we catch a bus. Riding on the top floor is like taking a self-guided tour of London. We get off at Marble Arch, and begin to walk the length of Oxford Street, poking our heads into shops, and we take time out to visit the Photographers’ Gallery.


We stop for tea at Camellia’s, which turns into lunch as well.


We float our way to Covent Garden for a while…


…then back north to the most amazing British Museum. Again, we’ve visited this place before, but didn’t feel like we did it justice. We spend 90 minutes in Africa and the Americas before the museum closes. The Benin exhibit is awe-inspiring, heartbreaking, and disgusting in roughly equal amounts.


We could use a break. We stop for pints at the Princess Louise, which has kind of a weird layout, but is lively and has taps.

For dinner, we opt for Indian food. This might seem like a strange choice, but it really is what the natives eat. London actually has the best Indian food anywhere.

Day 4

Today is a day for street markets. We ride the #11 bus all the way through the attraction-heavy city center to the east side; our destination (at least at first) is Spitalfields Market. The bus ride has been long, so we grab lunch first, then wend our way through all the rows, stopping for some asian tea at TeaSmith (“London’s best tea room”). We completely forgot to take photos, but Becky did pick up some adorable dresses:


It’s a short walk to the Petticoat Lane Market, which is a stark contrast. Spitalfields is full of hand-made original things, where Petticoat Lane is full of cheap knockoffs.


We walk quickly to the other end, and then turn southwest, through the financial district.


Our final stop is the Borough Market, which is a bit like all of the Portland farmer’s markets smashed together, but every day. We wander, overwhelmed, for 30 minutes, and emerge with supplies for a picnic dinner. We head back to our room to enjoy our last evening, and more of those strange-but-awesome crisps.


Day 5

Time to head home. We pack up and catch a cab to Heathrow, and find some characters from Will’s favorite book there.


10 hours and three movies later, we have a layover in Minneapolis.


And then we’re home. And we try to go to sleep, but end up waking up at 4am, which leads to us embracing early mornings: our new daily schedule has us waking up at 5am! Jet lag as a lifestyle, people.

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