It's hard to believe that I haven't written anything in so long - probably because I've been traveling!
One of my recent trips was to England. Wow, what a culture shock, in so many ways! The travel was not that bad. I was traveling with 2 co-workers. We arrived at Heathrow at 9:30 in the morning, and were out of customs and on our way in no time.
Tip #1: Try not to take a cab... anywhere. Really expensive, but highly amusing. The London cab drivers were very quick to point out that in New York, cab drivers are not local and can't be understood. We had trouble understanding them sometimes, but they seemed fine with our English. Once we got the hang of the Tube, it was fine.
Tip #2: Don't try to use the Tube during rush hour.
Tip #3: Our first day was spent sight seeing, which was a great decision. The hotel room was really small, and you wouldn't want to spend any amount of time there. But it was great to get out just from coming in on the red eye and knowing it wouldn't be a good idea to take a nap. We walked and walked - went to the palace and saw Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. We even saw a partial filming of either a movie or a special film for the Olympics featuring the James Bond cast. We saw Dame Judi Dench, but the process of watching the filming was pretty boring so we kept walking.
Tip #4: I have never stayed at a hotel where the room key had to be inserted in a slot for the electric to work - sheltered life I guess. The room was so tiny, but the bathroom was nice sized and well engineered.
I was fortunate enough to have a room with the cleaning crew staying next to it. I didn't figure this out until day 3 or so when I walked by and saw their mattresses on the floor of their room. Housekeeping for my floor was a group of young men, guessing late teens. They were very enthusiastic, and banged on the door very loudly. One of them sang in the shower every morning, which was my alarm clock. Their cockney accents and loud voices aside, they were very polite. I was very amused to see on TripFinder that someone had reviewed the same hotel and said, whatever you do, don't stay in room 507! You guessed it!
We had dinner our first night at a really great Italian restaurant - it was called The Spaghetti House. I'm sure the translation was literal because the food was amazing.
We had meetings for the next few days. Really great evening out at an Indian restaurant, Le Porte Des Indes. Walking in was like walking into a small storefront on the street, but they had the entire center of the building with huge fountains and two floors of tables. The food was good, spicy and service impeccable.
Tip #5: It seems like in London, there are no paper toilet seat covers, not even in the airport or any public restrooms. I'm seriously considering that as a business opportunity!
The following night we went to a pub, The Crown and Sceptre. I have to say that my initial impression wasn't really positive - we had to order our food at the bar - but WOW! I had Bangers and Mash, and it was amazing. It may have been a pub, but there was a chef back there.