London for work (and St. Patty's)

This is the first of a 4 part entry. I have traveled to London for work and then Toby and I will continue on to enjoy Stockholm, Kiruna and Berlin for a little Team Deen exploration!

Part 1: London 

Day 1 - Friday, March 13: After a short and breathless layover in Minneapolis, I BARELY make my flight to London. Bags were flying, sweat was dripping....thank goodness I had the airport pre-mapped- the doors were literally shut when I ran up to the gate breathless, looking a fright. Now I had 7 hours sitting back row, middle, no windows to chill out and think about London adventures.... And HARRY POTTER!!

Day 2 - Saturday, March 14: Happy Birthday Mom!!!! 

I bought my Oyster card (oi, travel like a local, yeh?) and headed on the tube towards Central London. Man I wish this extra bag (promo items for work) had wheels. Son of a gun, I stubbed my toe, crashed my bag and cut my finger. Good thing the Friday the 13th 'luck' hit me and not the plane.

I find my hotel (one night stay at the Georgian & Bower House Hotel) and immediately ask for a tour of their Wizard Rooms. Yes, I said wizard rooms. Of course London would have a HP themed hotel.... And of course I would choose to stay in it!! 

Now time to explore Notting Hill and Portobello Rd Market. 
<-George Orwell lived here!

<-Portobello Rd.

I had lunch - broccoli lentil soup - at a small cafe called Portobello Gold. Surprisingly yum!

Now a quick stop by Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, nuclear protestors, the London Eye and Trafalgar Square.





Now on to my Harry Potter Movie Studio Tour this evening!
 This will need to be another post... I just have too many pictures and that's not fair to London. Regardless..... I LOVED THIS TOUR. It was amazing to see in person all of the iconic creativity that this series has given me over the past 15 years. Well done!!

Back to London....

Day 3 - Sunday, March 15:
Good morning! Quick breakfast and off to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. 
Let me in Kate and Will, I want to hold baby George!
Duuuuuuude.... Story time.
I have to give a shout out to my bro-in-law Trevor. On behalf of all short jerks everywhere, I'm sorry. I arrived at Buckingham Palace at 10:15AM to get a good view in preparation for the 11:30AM changing of the guard starting time. This nice guy (who happened to be rather tall) arrived at about the same time. He was checking lighting for his camera and wore a huge smile as we waited in the freezing cold weather together. You could tell he was VERY excited to see this attraction. Well, around 11:15 things start getting a little rowdy as the crowd thickens. This mom and her 2 kids have fought there way up from the back of the crowd and their only obstacle tobeing  at the very front is the tall gentleman on my right who had been waiting for an hour. The woman pushes her kids forward and insists that they elbow their way into the front so they can see. Remember, we have been waiting for over an hour at this point... 

A fight ensues, the guards of the palace get involved.
The Mom: "step back you jerk, they are children!"
Tall Man: "I have been here for an hour and really want to see this. They can take turns."
The Mom: "GUARDS, HE IS TOO TALL!"
Palace Guards say to the tall man: "step back or we will force you to leave."

Moral of the story: Start them young. Teach your kids bad manners so they know how to get their way. Do not bother preparing to see an attraction and do not bother having patience. Waste of time. Just be short instead.

Back to history.... Very cool experience!

Next up, Natural History Museum. It is free entry to this amazing attraction. I already cant wait to come back to London and spend a full day here. So much to see!
Here's my new Dino-pet.
Fun fact: stegosaurus and T-Rex never roamed the planet at the same time.
My adventure was cut short so I could attend a Harry Potter Muggle Tour..... Yes, I'm a HP fan and proud of it! Here is a quick glimpse at the tour, but I will go into more detail in my Harry Potter-dedicated post soon. The guide had images from the movie and we went and saw where this was filmed or inspired by JK. 
 
Anyone recognize Knockturn Alley?

Now time to collect my bags, switch hotels and meet up with co-worker John in Canary Wharf.

Day 4 - Monday, March 16: 
John accompanies me to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and Cafe Pacifico for lunch before heading to the conference to prep for the IADC expo!
Don't laugh guard man! 
Boom!


Oh and a quick stop by Picadilly Circus... Does this scene look familiar?

Day 5 - Tuesday, March 17: The first day of the show is finally here. Hope I brought comfy shoes! I know it's St. Pattys Day but we end up laying low and getting some rest.... I saw cannons earlier in the day... That will tide me over.

Day 6 - Wednesday, March 18:
Another show day... AND BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL TONIGHT!!!
I cried, I laughed..... Mad respect for that cast and crew. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. It's in competition for my favorite musical. Current favorite is Wicked. Perhaps I will have to go see Wicked tomorrow night?

Day 7 - Thursday, March 19:
Last day of the show. Packed up all my gear in preparation to switch hotels to an airport hotel this evening at Gatwick.... 6AM flight tomorrow. Yikes!

Now on to see WICKED!!!!

Day 8 - Friday, March 20: 
I finally get to see Toby! See you in Stockholm....





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