We arrived at Gatwick without any difficulties and, after going through Customs and retrieving our luggage, we took the Gatwick Express train to London.

Joe on the Gatwick Express

After disembarking at Victoria Station, we took the District line of the Underground to the Earls Court exit. It was somewhere around this stop that I realized my little body was not going to be able to lug my 47.5 lb suitcase up and down full flights of stairs (at least without making a spectacle of myself), so after several flights and half-flights of steps where I said, “No thanks, I’m OK, I can do it myself,” I finally let my stubbornness burn out and let Joe (or even good-natured strangers) carry my big suitcase up or down steps.

We found our hotel, Base2Stay, without any huge problems. Although it was barely 10am and check-in normally wasn’t until mid-afternoon, our room was already ready. They had offered a “buy 4 nights, get 1 free” special (they were brand new…they weren’t even open when we booked back in April!), so although we were only staying for 4 nights, we used the special to our advantage and had purposely booked our room to start on Friday (5 nights, Friday through Tuesday), even though we didn’t plan to arrive until Saturday (it took some explaining but we finally got the hotel staff to understand our plan).

Front of our Base2Stay hotel. It could be found at 25 Courtfield Gardens, in the Kensington section of London. Their website can be found here.

Our room included a double bed

They also offered a flat-screen TV, desk and chair

The chair unfolded into what was described as a “surprisingly comfortable” single bed. Ask Steve…they lied.

We had a kitchenette with microwave, coffeemaker, teapot, refrigerator, sink, plates and glasses. Not pictured, to the right of this were 2 double doors with closet and drawer space

The bathroom was pretty simple, although they did offer an electric towel warmer

Anyway, after giggling about the fact that our Ground Floor hotel room required us to go up 5 steps (???), we got settled and took a well-earned nap.

We fell asleep around 10:15am and barely noticed when Steve arrived around 11am. We slept until about 2:15pm and after quick showers, the three of us walked to our train station, got onto the Piccadilly line and took the Holborn exit.

Steve outside the Tardis that is just outside the Earl’s Court Station. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Steve’s story about how he “found a Tardis” during our last trip to the UK, in 1995.

We then followed street maps and signs to the Sir John Soane Museum.

Museum sign

Outside of the museum

The indoor architecture of the Adventurers Club is apparently modeled after the inside of the museum, so, being geeks, we stopped in to take a look. There were a few things that were reminiscent of the AC, but let’s just say we’re glad admission to the museum was free (grin).

We then backtracked and took the Piccadilly line to Leicester Square and got 1/2 (well, 3/4) price tickets for Les Miserables (I never saw, Joe last saw 15 yrs ago), Steve got a ticket to a revival of the wartime comedy, “See How They Run.”

The Leicester Square Underground station

After walking around for a half-hour and getting hungrier and hungrier, we finally decided to have dinner at a place called China City.

I had chicken and cashews, Joe had sweet and sour chicken and Steve had stir fried steak and green vegetables (which was 99% leeks). It wasn’t bad, but probably just as good as any Florida-based Chinese restaurant (it didn’t say “NY Style,” which was a point in its favor [grin])

After dinner, we walked around an hour or so then went to our respective theaters.

The Queen’s Theatre, where Les Miserables was playing.

Joe liked the show almost as much as the first time he saw it. I never had seen the show, still had minimal interest in seeing it but as willing to give it a chance, since so many people had told me how good it was or at least gave me really funny looks when I said I had never seen it. Anyway, I wound up sleeping through 2/3 of the show (yeah, I know, I’m getting closer and closer to having to hand in my fag hag card). I’m sorry…the French Revolution was never a high point of interest for me, and there were just too many places for me to zone out…on top of recovering from bronchitis and probably still being sleep-deprived from the past 2 days. I’m glad Joey enjoyed the show though.

Since the West End theaters all tend to let out around the same time and because they’re all roughly around the Leicester Square vicinity (a very popular place for hanging out), most food places in the area stay open late. So Joe and I stopped and got some ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.

Pity they didn’t have any Wavy Gravy left over from last year’s “Raise A Flavor From the Dead” campaign.

After we were done, we took the Underground back to the hotel, where we saw that Steve was already “home.” He said his show was a pretty good comedy, based around WW2. We got the computer hooked up, and while the guys are watching TV (moreso laughing at the commercials…), I’m getting the finishing touches of the past 2 days’ worth of journals down.

Until next time…