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UK trip: Friday in London

The last week has been a blur. Just one week ago I woke up in a small hotel in Farnham, Surrey yet I've also spend quite a number of days here in Seattle. This is how it went down.

Wind the clock back to last Thursday morning and a 5am town car to the airport. I pounded through some unfinished business at the gate and boarded the plane to Chicago. For those of us at 6'4" I can definitely recommend the United Economy Plus; I felt like a sucker for buying it (at $100) on the way out but definitely missed it on the way back. A 6am arrival in Heathrow and the body is ready to sleep, not embrace the day ahead.

Heathrow Express into Paddington and I started off in search of some food. I wandered aimlessly for about 20 minutes until it started to rain so I stepped into the restaurant at a nearby Hilton Hotel. For the next hour, I gorged on all the British breakfast food I miss - beans, pork sausages, grilled tomatoes, particular hash browns, real bacon. Mmmmm.

I planned to spend the day with my mum who was coming down by train. I figured I could at least drop off my bags at the hotel before she arrived and they did one better, letting me check in at 8am giving me time for a shower and shave.

We met at Euston and decided to head to the British Museum. The atrium is a very impressive structure, huge sweeping room over a main central exhibit with so much off to the sides too. Unfortunately we had the attention level of uninterested school children and headed straight for the coffee shop to catch up, incidentally glancing at a few mummies on the way. After a good chat, we walked through a small exhibit of American art (impressive woodcuts) and then decided we had had our fill of culture. Definitely a place to go back to, perhaps with a little more focus.

Next we caught to tube to Embankment, walked down the river to Parliament, through some back streets and through St James Park in a torrential downpour. All-Bar-One in Leicester Square for lunch and then we visited a place I've long wanted to go: the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. Closed shortly after the war, they provide a fascinating insight into the conditions and epic struggle of the time. Having read Roy Jenkin's biography of Churchill a few years ago, I found a number of parts of the Churchill Museum to be quite familiar too. Highly recommended.

By the end of that tour, I was tired and fading fast. We parted ways and I got an early start on the night's sleep.