When things don’t go according to plan…

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So, remember that grand plan of going to Wimbledon to see some tennis (and Nadal’s abs)? Yeah, that didn’t exactly happen the way we wanted it to…

Before things devolved, the day started on schedule. Well, minus the fact that I’m a bit sleep-deprived because, yes, my worst nightmare has come true: we have a snorer. Actually, I think “snorer” might be putting it lightly. I’m pretty sure that, last night, the walls were trembling and the beds were shaking — which makes sleeping in the tiny hostel room with tons of other people incredibly difficult. Plus, the room overheats, and sleeping while sweaty isn’t fun or easy to do. So, after tossing and turning for much of the night, I ended up getting a little less than three hours of sleep (whoops!) and woke up at 5 a.m. with a splitting headache.

A little snore goes a loooonnnngg way

It was hard to be quiet in the room once I woke up, but I figured I should at least try, especially because some of our roommates (bedmates?) didn’t get back until about 2 a.m. Oh, to be young again. Not all of us are really 62 at heart.Our room is really quite the interesting conglomeration of people — there’s a couple from China (he’s the snorer), a few people from an Eastern European country and a young woman from France who has been in the hostel for the past two weeks as she’s been looking for a job and a flat in London.

As a whole, the hostel seems to be quite the mixing pot. It actually seems like Clare and I are two of the only Americans, which isn’t at all what I was expecting. In fact, the place is currently overrun with German students who can’t be much older than 15 or 16 (and who gather in large groups in the most awkward of places).

Anyway, the morning started out beautifully, as Clare and I decided to go for a run in Hyde Park. OK, that’s a bit of a lie — she ran, I walked. I mean, it was more of a power walk, but whatever. I still had on my running shoes. That counts.

The Italian Gardens, which were apparently built for
Queen Victoria by Prince Albert to show his love for her.

I’m so glad I went out, even if it meant leaving the hostel at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. The rising sun cast a beautiful kind of haze over everything, and it felt almost as if the world had slowed around me. It was great to get to explore the gardens, especially because I was in my super-duper comfortable Nikes. Score!

The gardens are sparse in the park, but they add an adorable amount of color. I even saw two English Springer Spaniels, but neither was as cute as my little Cora Bean! She would have adored the park — guess that just means we’ll have to come back.

Don’t grow up. It’s a trap.

It was cool to see parts of the park I remember from my last London visit, in particular the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and the Peter Pan statue. The fountain was closed today, but I still remember what it looks like when the water is going and children are splashing their feet in the water. The Peter Pan statue looks exactly like I remembered, but it was much further away from that fountain than I thought it was. Guess my little legs could really book it!

When Clare and I got back to the hostel, we grabbed breakfast downstairs (you don’t want to know what some of these people were doing to their poor toast: butter galore, some even dumped straight sugar on it).

After we got ready, we headed off to Wimbledon. We hadn’t been able to get tickets in advance, but we did a ton of research and figured we wouldn’t have too much trouble getting grounds court passes. Man alive were we wrong. After getting there, we were told that we could stand in the queue to get tickets, but we probably wouldn’t reach the front for at least six hours.

We turned around pretty quickly. So, I’ve been to Wimbledon, I’ve just never been inside. There’s always next year, right!?

We then took the Tube over to Regent Park, which was spectacular. I haven’t been able to transfer the photos off the camera yet, which sucks because I don’t think my words can truly capture the splendor of the place. I particularly loved Queen Mary’s Rose Garden; I almost melted I was so content. We even found a Double Delight rose like the one we had in Atherton and now have in Granite Bay. I even managed to tell Clare what rose it was without having to look at the sign. Thanks for the gardening education, Mamma Mia, and sorry I don’t think I’ll fulfill your dreams of me being a landscape architect.

These tootsies are tired!

We then walked over to 221B Baker Street — a bit touristy, but, still. We didn’t go the full tourist route and go inside, but we got our photos outside! Sherlock Holmes will always hold a special place in my heart, being the first form of detective fiction I ever read (I’ll always remember reading “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” for the first time). Benedict Cumberbatch has a place in my heart, too. That casting! Those cheekbones!

After a bit more walking around — we walked about eight or nine miles today — we went back to the hostel to formulate a game plan for the rest of the evening because we had free time on our hands because of the Wimbledon mishap.

We decided to see a play/musical and narrowed our options down to “Once,” which I’ve been dying to see for ages now, and Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” and with the decision left up to me, I went with “The Mousetrap” because it seemed like more a London kind of thing. I guess I’ll just have to find a way to visit Clare at Yale and see both “Once” and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”!

For the sake of the photo, either we or Trafalgar had to go. Sorry, dude. Still, cool statue base.

The theatre (note the spelling, please) was right by Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, so we wandered around there a bit. It was pretty but incredibly touristy. If you can’t tell, I refuse to be too touristy. No fanny packs for me. I mean, I do posses a small shred of dignity. (Small.)

Then, it was dinner at a cute little Mexican place — the Indian restaurant we wanted to try (Dishoom) had a 30-minute wait, and our play was going to start in an hour. But we’ve decided we’re going back at some point.

Then, it was time to watch the play, which was thoroughly enjoyable. I found it a tiny bit over-acted at times and a little slow in places, but Agatha Christie is a genius. (Even if I did guess who the murderer was at the intermission. I guess I’m just that good.)

Not quite Murder On the Orient Express/And Then There Were None/Murder of Roger Ackroyd/Five Little Pigs/ABC Murders good — but fun, nonetheless!

Clare and I both struggled some to keep our eyes open because of our lack of sleep, but I think we’ve managed to handle the jet lag pretty well. I’m actually pretty surprised. It’s weird being so far ahead of the U.S. on the clock, especially when we’re eating lunch and realize that people back home are still asleep.

As a result of the time difference, trying to watch soccer — sorry, football — here is rough, because all the games are on so late. I keep wanting to find a pub to watch the game, but Clare’s worried that she won’t be allowed inside and will be unceremoniously tossed back out on the street.

Tomorrow we’re heading to the Tower of London. I just want to point out that any sibling problems Clare and I have has got nothing on Mary and Elizabeth. I mean, I may have wanted to lock her up at some point, but at least I’ve never done it!

Other photos from today:

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