Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 03/12/13
UK1999 #2 Big Ben & Jet Lag
Flag of England
London city skyline looking toward Tower Bridge
Friday, June 4, 1999
The jetlag finally hit me today. Because of it, I went to sleep at 3:30 AM last night and awoke at 5:30 AM and was never able to fall back to sleep. I finally gave up at 11 AM and decided to go out for my run at 12 noon. I tried to get past Buckingham Palace but the ceremonial changing of the guard was going on with bands and horsemen and crowds were so thick I just couldn't do it. I ran down so many side streets and was about to give up when there I was near the Thames River and in front of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Below is a stock aerial photo of both of them and the flag for Westminster with the Tudor roses.
Here are several stock photos of Westminster Abbey; on the left is the north entrance, center and right is the south.
I did not seem as big as I imagined it but another very beautiful reminder I am really in London for the very first time. With no language barrier, it is hard to feel you are really in a foreign country.
Big Ben is the name given to the bell in the clock tower which holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower.
The tower was completed in 1859 and had its 140th anniversary on May 31, 1999. The hour hand is 9 feet (2.7 m) long and the minute hand is 14 feet (4.3 m) long. On May 10, 1941, a German bombing raid damaged two of the clock's dials and sections of the tower's stepped roof as well as destroying the House of Commons chamber. Despite the heavy bombing, the clock ran accurately and chimed throughout the Blitz and WWII. There it sits at the end of the Parliament Building.
After I finished my run at 12:45, it was windy and cool and I felt really lousy, wobbly and out of sorts and started sneezing. I almost felt several times like I was going to fall down. It was very disconcerting. All I could hope was this was due to jetlag. As I walked along, I looked at several places for a cappuccino and finally settled on Biagio's on Piccadilly [189 Piccadilly, Mayfair, +44-207-434-1921] (below) and when I got inside I heard everyone speaking Italiano. For some reason the Italian made me feel much better and after sitting a while and drinking my capuccino, I started to feel better.
[The 2013 ratings for Biagio are absolutely horrible.]
At 1:15 I then walked back to the room and collapsed for three hours. Finally at 7:30 PM, the guy from the cell phone rental shows up with my phone "all activated." But, there is one small problem; they're all out of the small Nokia phone he showed me and they have to give me the larger one. Is it any cheaper? He's not sure. As he's leaving I decide to ask him to wait until I try to make a call. It doesn't work. After 15 minutes he gives up and leaves with the phone and profuse apologizes. After I read the rate charges per call, I figured I just saved myself a great deal of money, but what a colossal waste of time.
We then took a cab to Wendy Eale's (below left) apartment. We got to see their little twin boys, Alexander and Gregory. Her mother Hazel (below right, far right) was there and we had a chance to meet her. She invited us to visit her at her home in Kirkcudbright in Scotland.
The twins are fraternal and not identical so you can tell them apart. I believe Gregory is left and Alexander is on the right.
Wendy had some good babysitters, so we left the apartment and headed for dinner.
We arrived at the area where the restaurant is on King's Road in Chelsea.
At 8:10 PM we arrived for dinner at Cafe Milan (above) on King's Road [312 Kings Rd, +44-871-332-8694] in Chelsea which Wendy had recommended. Marcia had a bowl of risotto (below left) and I had a meat dish with steamed spinach.
Marcia then had a chocolate cake for desert. [Dark video pictures are not very good but all I have.]
It was all very nice and we had a good time. At 10:40 PM we took a cab back to the hotel. In the morning, we go to Waterloo station to catch the Eurostar Chunnel train to Paris at 7:30 AM. Its supposed to take 3.5 hours (20 minutes of it under the English Channel.) Its cool here; I hope Paris is warmer.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #3
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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