Monday, September 7, 2009

Lots of Walking

Paraphrasing Douglas Adams, yesterday (Sunday) has been a walking day, in much the same way as today won’t. My feet hurt in ways only describable by picking a random vowel, repeating it about a dozen times (in capital letters) and placing exclamation marks all throughout.

Started the day very easily, by visiting the hotel’s dining room for breakfast. What I found there was a buffet-style, limited-yet-fair selection of food. A few years ago, such a sight would cause me to embark in a sensual all-I-can-eat extravaganza, however I guess some things change as you grow up. Especially when travelling, I keep it small and simple. Two eggs, one toast, and some fruit. A five-minutes meal to start the day.

I walked from the hotel to the Tottenham Court area, with the goal in mind to purchase an xD card for my digital camera. What I found out was that London, at least at the areas I hung out in, is a very boring and quiet place on Sunday mornings. The vast majority of stores were closed. I managed to find a store that sells those cards however, as it turned out, my camera is “so old” (3 years) that it was unclear which type of card I really need.

Then I started a seemingly-endless walk. At some point I arrived at Hyde Park; this is some huge park. I was trying to locate that scene where people stand and talk their minds in front of an audience more fascinated by the speaker’s “weirdness” of talking to nobody than being fascinated by the actual speech; with no success whatsoever. I walked the park for more than an hour, and all I’ve seen was herds over herds of humans rambling around in much the same way that I did – maybe they were all looking for the speakers, who knows.

It is, however, a fine park. I liked it, seems like a great place for a day’s hangout.

I left the park in its south-west corner (I believe), only to notice a sign that the Royal Albert Hall is right around the corner. So much I have heard about this venue; Mark Knopfler plays here on every tour (in 2010, he will be performing here six nights in a row; I will let you know how it went); my friend Jeroen, who has been here before, claims vigorously that this is the most beautiful venue he could think of, and pictures I have seen over the Internet clearly show that he may not be too far from the truth.

(I have never been to the Royal Albert Hall myself, however the most beautiful venue I have been in is the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado and I doubt anything can beat that; Google it up and see for yourself)

After sniffing around the venue I’m going to be visiting daily for a week next year, I proceeded towards South Kensington. The Kensington area is pretty neat, however there’s some construction going on that ruins it. I was so tired after so much walking and went for lunch in this cafe-restaurant place. Again, entree-sized salad with a few slices of bread. Yes, I am determined to maintain my weight.

All this walking around made me extremely tired; I guess jetlag kicked in as well, and so I found myself catching the underground back to the hotel. Once at the hotel room, I just crashed into bed and slept for a couple of hours.

Took my guitar to the garden right across the street from the hotel, sat on the grass and started playing while occasionally chatting with Jeroen. I have been working on this tune recently, that I would like to record – something that’s been buzzing in my mind for a few years but never got around to actually make something out of. And what I found out was that, apparently, on vacation, I play better than at home. I have long realized that my main handicap in guitar-playing is with my technique; I never had a teacher and therefore had to teach myself, and I’m pretty sure that whatever I do can be done easier and smoother with a better technique. However, yesterday it seemed as if most of these obstacles have been lifted and I was playing extremely well (of course, to my definition of “well”).

Hunger kicked in again and I found myself taking yet another walk towards the Euston Station area (by mistake; where I really wanted to go was the Tottenham Court area), then rambling around and taking the underground to Oxford Circus. A short walk to the Soho and I came across a restaurant that seemed interesting from the outside. The place was called “Imli”, and it was an Indian restaurant.

As it has been quite a while since I had Indian food, I decided to give it a shot. That turned out to be a very wise decision; the menu was short, to the point, and extremely interesting. You could tell, by looking, chewing and tasting the food, that it is fresh. A short two-course meal and I was on my way out for dessert in another location (same location as the night before, with all those pastries lying around waiting for you to pick them out), then back to the hotel.

I was absolutely wiped and so went to bed early. Woke up a couple of hours later – I guess the time was around 11:00pm – and wanted to go out but my feet wouldn’t let me. I ended up spending most of the night awake, then finally got some sleep at around 7:00am.

12:30pm now (Monday) and I’m sitting in a cafe by the hotel. Feet still ache and I decided to not challenge them much further today. No Wi-Fi here (damn, I should have bought that mobile broadband USB adapter), so I’ll upload this post from the hotel room and go on my way to finally buy that digital camera storage card to get it over with.

I may visit the touristic areas (London Bridge, Downing Street etc) later today.


1 comment:

dee said...

my advise is to buy a pair of comfortable shoes i.o. camera card, a 'quality shoes' sort of :-)