Day 5: Recapping Our British Holiday Across the Pond

3 Aug

We cannot believe we are flying home already! It’s been an adventurous last few days and we are so grateful for our good traveling mercies in the city and while flying.

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Would we do it all again? In a heartbeat! We’ve shared a lot of new experiences with each other, and it’s just been good to hang out as sisters. Here are just some of our observations and experiences we didn’t put in our day to day entries, in case you want to know a little bit more about British culture and how surprisingly different it is from ours.

Slang/Common Expressions:
*Brilliant- this word is used from everything we would say as just being “good”, “ok”, “that’s fine,” or “amazing.”
*Rubbish- trash or garbage
*”The Bill”- we would say, “Please bring the check” in America. We made the mistake several times of asking for it and were always corrected, “You mean the bill?” Get it, got it, good!

Currency- trying to master their currency was a little easier since we were familiar with it from years past. Coins range from one, two, five, ten, 20, 50 pence, one and two pound coins, and five, ten, twenty, fifty, and hundred “notes” or cash. FYI: £1=$1.56.
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Tube- while it is the cheapest and fastest form of transportation, it can at times be chaotic and stressful to get around if you’re not used to and aren’t familiar with which station or direction (eastbound/westbound) and different platforms to use. During morning and afternoon rush, it can be wall to wall people, stuffed into the tiny cars like sardines.

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The color-coded map can be overwhelming at first, but once you determine your destination, it’s just like following the (insert color) brick road! For the Olympics this year, they have the main sporting event venues marked in pink on the tube map and stations for easy planning.

Tube stations can be like being at an airport, everyone’s in a hurry and no one likes to wait, so the best thing is to keep right and let the hurried folks pass by you on the steps and escalators.
Our tube pass, or Oyster Card, failed many times when trying to get through the turnstiles leading to the underground. This happened to me on my first trip and it happened to Lauren and me several times, making us have to get assistance from the personnel. Many were having the same problem. No regrets on using it though! It saved time and money!
Going to miss our Bayswater Station!

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Street walk: walking on the busy sidewalks in the city we noticed that people are not always willing to move out of your way, so it was our assumption that one person usually had to make the gesture of stepping aside to let others pass. This was not our southern hospitality way of making others feel welcome, and don’t expect doors to be opened for you either.

Street signs are confusing- streets aren’t always labeled and with so many different squares and districts and neighborhoods, as well as one way streets, we got lost on foot a few times but always found our way.
Driving on the wrong side of the road: We were not about to get behind the wheel in London nor on a bike! We think Hwy. 431 is bad on a Friday or Atlanta has bad traffic. London was even more so congested with the Games. The London Eye actually lit up green, yellow, or red according to traffic flow in the city.
Temperature is measured in Celsius, so the thermostat in our room took some getting used to, 19 degrees felt like 73 or 75 to us.
Greenwich Mean Time (more daylight hours): During summer, it gets dark around 9:00 PM and the sun rises at 5:30 AM, which is great for touring all day! However, it takes your body a little while to get used to, just as when our Daylight Savings kicks in here.
Credit card machines do not like American cards. It frustrated the clerks at times because our cards were a different procedure than the locals; however, we found it to be more cost efficient to pay with credit and debit cards than pounds.
They do not use the word vacation. People would ask us if we were here “on holiday.”
Kids are so mature and multicultural, despite some of them having potty mouths (see previous blog).
Paying 30 pence to use public restrooms
Rocket- this is used on sandwiches, pizzas, and burgers and is what we know as the leafy green arugula.
No ice in water & no iced tea, only hot tea!
Have to specify still or sparkling water- Sparkling water is like carbonated water and is more commonly requested by the locals than still, which is tap water.
Their postage bins on the street say “franked mail.”
Measurements (stone, kilometers, meters, etc): Signs on the street say meters & kilometers instead of miles.
Fashion trends we noted were girls wearing short shorts with black pantyhose (tights) and either heels or ballet flats, which 9 out of 10 wear around the city. Guys’ fashion was very distinguished in colored pants or skinny jeans and blazers.

It was nice to see this while in Brighton! The decor inside looked so modern!

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And here’s the world’s largest McDonald’s inside Olympic Park. Seats 1500!

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Here is our hotel room, which we loved! The front desk was so nice and helpful.

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Ironically, we were staying a block away from the Bayswater Inn, where I stayed on my senior trip back in 2005. It still looked the same! Good to be back!

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Here is a picture of Whiteley’s Mall a block from our hotel.

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It was a three story mall with numerous stores like French Connection, H&M, Zara, Marks and Spencer, Nine West, Gap, and many more boutiques and restaurants. Here is a picture of our sushi experience on Sunday at Yo! Sushi:

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A trip to UK is not complete without bringing back some chocolate!!

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We say next time we go, we will stay in the city of Wimbledon and explore more there and take one or two days to go into London.
All in all, we were able to do everything we wanted to do! Lauren and I shared lots of laughs, memories, and sisterly bonding. We stayed up late telling each other stories and catching up on life, and were good company to each other traveling home yesterday when we missed our connecting flight from D.C. to ATL due to security back up and our flight getting in late. We thankfully were placed on standby for the 10:00 PM flight and were the last ones to board on this oversold flight! Otherwise we would’ve been spending the night in D.C. Our Uncle John was waiting to pick us up a little after midnight when our flight came in and our luggage was still there! We were able to crash at our Aunt Kristi and Uncle John’s house for the night and catch up on sleep and get over some jet lag before going back home today. Whew!

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The people were nice, food was yummy, weather was a good mix of warm, chilly, and sometimes wet.

Until next time, London:

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Cheerio!

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2 Responses to “Day 5: Recapping Our British Holiday Across the Pond”

  1. Krystyn Brindisi August 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    I’m so glad you guys had a great trip! I was super jealous thinking how much fun the two of you were having while I was sitting on the couch. Next time i’m coming with! Thanks agian for the scarf Lauren!

    Love ya,
    Krystyn Brindisi

    • 2sistersacrossthepond August 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      You would have loved this trip Krystn! We need to plan a girls trip! That would be brilliant!
      Thanks for following the blog!

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