Finland, United Kingdom · 4 Days · 17 Moments · November 2000

2000: Kalle's first doc'd journi to London

17 November 2000

As I have plenty of time to sit down for Double Whopper (with cheese) meal, and think of this trip. Reflection, it's called, right? Or summink. In general, it's been really nice here, I would definitely have stayed for longer! DAAAAAD! Send money, please. Sooner, after about 4 hours, it's time to head home. During the flight, after a cup of tea and a St. Brendan's I become more sentimental and feel that I love the world. Except I don't love heading back to Finland. But I love the fact that I can return to London in the future.
And all of a sudden, the Tube is packed! Nooooo! Just after I get in with my suitcase there is a woman with double-seater pram! She squishes everyone in front of the pram, and off we go. "Oh excrement", I mutter under my breath, and this actually draws some chuckles from people standing nearby! Whaat. At Holborn, which is packed as well, I make my way to the Piccadilly Line and plan to alight in Piccadilly Circus for some coffee and last minute shopping at HMV. Everyone at the station, everyone, seems also very keen on getting into the Piccadilly Line Tube with me (I feel like a celebrity) and standing in the middle of the carriage with my suitcase, I have to ditch my idea of alighting anywhere before Heathrow. "Check-in is available for 2 hours before the flight departure" says the monitor and this is confirmed by a check-in agent. So, I have two hours before the check-in opens, and then two hours before the flight. Hooray.
The Three Explorers (tm) doesn't need to go to the gym, we have our luggage. Carrying them down to the Tube is gym enough, mind you! As Jarkko doesn't want to keep coins, he uses his own sweet time to chuck them into the ticket machine - his speed is akin to an old lady and it would cause queues if there were any other people at the station! We head, in a spacious Tube, to the Liverpool Street station (who in their right mind names a station liver pool?!) and whilst dragging our suitcases up the stairs we wonder why on earth we need to check-out at 10am anyway?! Staying in a hostel means that traveller-by-the-grace-of-God has no place to leave their luggage if the flight is in the evening! Once up in the station level, we cause a scene by waving each other good-bye. "Menkää vitten vavovafti, fievvä foi ovva vyövävi!" we exclaim loudly, turning some (albeit very few) heads. Kaisa and Jarkko vanish towards platform 4 (Stansted Express) and I head towards the Central Line Tube.
All through the night a man in a nearby bed makes such a loud noise *SNORE*SNORE*SNORE*GURGLE*SNORE*SNORE* and his prostate makes him go to the loo at least 29765 times during the night. This means that none of us, except Jarkko, slept well. How he could sleep through that racket escapes me and Kaisa. So, in the morning, we make ourselves pretty, throw rest of our stuff into the luggages, and head out to Orient espressO for our brekkie during which we keenly follow a waiter cleaning the tables. Well done. Really well done. It was a pleasure to watch him... Anyhow, Kaisa's bread is faulty - the crust comes loose. We ponder on the possibility of refund, but somehow think that they wouldn't give it. In the end, we end up eating the bread and head out to the city.

16 November 2000

After Foyle's and dinner it is already time to head to the Mysteries on Monmouth Street. The shop is filled with the smell of insence ja this very heavy smell causes slight stomach upset for Kaisa, who heads out for some fresh air. The Mysteries is definitely something that needs to be remembered! We take a look at the time and quickly make our way to the Oxford Street, so that we can catch the rush hour there! It's always so nice to be in a place with million other people! Not.
An interesting (non-factual) fact: In the 13th Century when they were constructing the Bloody Tower in the Tower, the King himself came to oversee the construction. As it was the day when he was supposed to Christen the Bloody Tower, he was all ready for the ceremony and just as he was about to do it, he slipped and fell on his knees. "We shall name this... *tumble* Bloody Tower!" And, as we all know, the King is always right... After this short story, it's time to head towards Foyle's, the bookshop with how many floors! It's one of the best places to find a book that you didn't even know you need! We spend so much time (and money) there (it usually happens!) that we need some sustenance --> Pizza Hut beacons! Whilst waiting for our food, we discuss the deeper meaning of our condiments holder, which seems to be broken, and Kaisa cannot even use her nails to rip the pepper thing open!
from there to the Tower of London. Don't know if it is the huge group of kids or what, but when we see a guard (Beefeater) he is very stern and says, very sternly: "No smiling. No talking. This is your last chance to smile." Scary! We walk through The Medieval Palace and the White Tower just to see a Beefeater who is not acting properly! He keeps changing his position constantly and also, his eyes dart from here to there and back again! And he is in front of the Jewellery House! It might also be the reason. Or he is just a rookie - even his belt is not straight. Or hungover. Who knows. We head down to see the Crown Jewels, and they are still there. Nice. And as this marks the end of our time in the Tower, we head towards the Leicester Square for the Orc's Nest (it's on Earlham Street). And after a rather successful journey of exploration we sit down to have a pint of cider. Except me, I have a pint of coke.
It's clearly a better morning, I have no headache. But my heart still aches from the bartender's comment last evening, and I decide to wake up my travel colleagues by throwing socks on their faces. Until that very moment they were sleeping like two plovers in the green fields. After freshening up we head to Orient EspressO for coffees and planning. We plan to do sightseeing today. It's a good plan.

15 November 2000

Back to the hostel it is. Having a small rest with smelly feet up in the air we decide to head to dinner as we saw a not-so-posh Chinese restaurant just next to our hostel. Jarkko would love to head to partyparty after dinner, but we end up in a pub. Drinking cider until they close, and having the bartender ruffle my hair just to say I'm not as cute as Kaisa makes my day - I head to bed. Just so you know: Imelletty perunalaatikko = suckered potato box (Finnish foods)
So, into the woods.. no, into the Museum we go, and start to conquer the vast halls filled with historical knowledge - just to be thrown out at 5 pm when they close the place. Boo. But, we anyway have time to scour some of the artefacts of Old Egypt and then pop by the exhibition exhibiting the old English coins and other valuables before we are chased out. So no night in the museum then! Reminder for my future self: have time when coming to the British Museum.
We decide to have some McFood and then brave the packed Oxford Street all the way to the British Museum, finding a small, quaint roleplaying shop on the way! Oh joy! Before the Museum, we make a planning detour to a pub and decide to start the tour from the Egyptian section. And it is already 14.30 in the afternoon! By the way: A legend tells of a man who went into the tube without a valid ticket and for some reason couldn't get out from there without the valid ticket. So his wife has to bring him food every day through a hatch somewhere. (And Kaisa is really sad that she cannot remember how the story really went, but it was something like that.) Whilst sitting at the Museum Bar, Jarkko is deeply annoyed with the head of a woman between his legs. So we decide to get a move on. And outside the pub, Jarkko trips and falls down so hard that the buttons are flying everywhere! Luckily that is the worst thing!
Headache has struck! And the weather has taken a turn to be a tad colder. It's November after all! However, after morning rituals we head down for breakfast - only to learn that we are 5 minutes late. Well, "pooh", we say and sit down to use the Internet whilst waiting for a British guy who is supposed to come meet us at 9.30. He decides not to make an appearance, so we leave him a note and leave. We buy Travelcards, and Jarkko almost faints - a pack of smokes costs roughly 42 Finnish marks (= 6€ in modern money). Swearing, he vows to bring lots of cigarettes next time from Finland! We make plans: go to Bond Street first, take a look at fancy shops, and walk onwards like an old woman in the snow (a Finnish saying that strangely befits a cold morning).

14 November 2000

The boys (which means Jarkko and I) put little-Kaisa into bed and head to a bar! It means taking the Tube back towards the centre, and then walking down Charing Cross Road, and voila! there it is: 79CXR! The bar seems to be filled with smoking people and suddenly Jarkko cannot speak any English! Being prim and proper we return from our bar-outing before midnight as 79CXR wasn't clearly our sort of place, even though both of us wanted the t-shirts. Good night! NB! This bar closed in 2012 :/
Green Park -> Piccadilly Circus -> Leicester Square -> Covent Garden -> Italian family restaurant with tasty lasagna and karponara! -> Tottenham Court Road with Virgin -> Back to the hostel with the tube. City sports, as we walked for the whole way!
We enter the lobby of the hostel to be greeted by lots of people coming and going and very friendly staff. We are given instructions to the room and communal showers are located at the hallway of each floor, and off we go to find our accommodation. The hostel's room immediately reminds me starkly of the army times. Bunk beds, dorm room, and communal showers and toilets. Cozy and fresh linen! After choosing the beds and chucking bags underneath it is time to head back to the city.
After having the "delicious" and "filling" breakfast at the plane, it is time to go for a luncheon at my favourite place of all time - Burger King at Cloucester Road. Whilst heading there I wonder what has happened to ScanHotel, a hotel where I used to bunk in for many times before. As I have time before the arrival of my friends Kaisa and Jarkko, I decide to take a walk to Natural History Museum, and from there to Science Museum. From there I use my well-known direction sense and head to Hyde Park to see the Peter Pan statue. There I finally look at the time and realise that I should be heading towards the Liverpool Street station (which I do, via King's Cross station as my famous direction sense is briefly turned off). After meeting the low-cost airline people (Kaisa and Jarkko flew buzz), it's finally time to go to the hostel we booked to get rid of the bags. It's easier to go around the town without luggage.
What a wonderful way to start a new trip, and especially start to do blogging about travels: My flight is delayed by one hour! So here I am, at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, enjoying my tea and waiting for boarding, hoping to get to London before my friends arrive on a later, and low-cost, airline! And finally, after three more hours of flying, I can't even see London from above - it's very foggy morning in the UK.