Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 1 (or 1.5?): London.

Friday, April 18, we packed up the car and drove up to Canada to pick up my grandma and then go to the Vancouver Airport where our flight to London was taking off. (Wow, what a cool airport. The international section has a fish tank and a "river" in it!)

Our plane:

On the long, ten hour flight, I mostly slept. But I did sample the wide variety of movies and TV shows (they had Sherlock season 3. Isn't that crazy?) the airplane supplied for free... I watched Frozen! What a gorgeous movie. I did, however, think that it had a lot of unused potential plot and character wise.
Amazingly, I woke up right as we were passing over the final corner of Greenland! I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pictures of the ice. How beautiful!

It doesn't look green to me...

We landed 2:00 in the afternoon on Saturday, London time, which, for us, was about 5 AM. But you don't want to waste an entire afternoon sleeping, so, after checking into our hotel, St. David's, my mom and dad and I went to hit a few shops.
First on our list was... THE TINTIN SHOP!!!!!!! =D On Floral Street. This is one of the major reasons we made this side trip to London.
If you ever go to London, and are a fan of Tintin, GO HERE! It's a teeny tiny little shop, about the size of two hallways side by side. It's got tons of Tintin books and merchandise everywhere. Behind the counter hang Tintin t-shirts and in the counter's glass display case, there are ton of miniatures from the books. Mostly cars and XFLR-6's. The whole time we were in there it was packed.

 (Me, my dad, and Tintin. Am I short, or is he just tall? Either way, Tintin's the smallest.)

After the Tintin shop, we walked through the packed streets to Forbidden Planet, which is a huge sci-fi/fantasy store (with a basement full of sci-fi/fantasy books!). 
Along the way we saw many beautiful buildings (I think the architecture of London is going to have to be a separate post). We also saw some picture-worthy sights...

This is a street in Covent Garden where seven roads converge. In the middle of the circular area is this monument, unveiled by Queen Beatrix (who abdicated her throne to her son last year) of the Netherlands!
We also found a cool stature honoring Agatha Christie:

And we saw the funniest - if you are a fan of the show Sherlock and/or Elementary - sign on the side of a car. (There are hardly any billboards in London - all the advertisements are either on the sides of cabs, buses, or in shop windows. Strangely, this was how it was over 100 years ago too! In the 1900's, 'omnibuses,' which were double-decker carriages pulled by horses, would have advertisements on their sides as well!)

Anyway, on the side of this van we saw this picture:

An advertisement for Elementary, America's modernized Sherlock Holmes, which says "believe in better." This is ironically funny because England was the first to have the idea of modernizing Sherlock Holmes (with their show "Sherlock") and when America announced their intention to do one as well, there was some tension, and a lot of uproar from the fans of Sherlock (myself included... though now I'm not really into either show).

Forbidden Planet was a pretty cool store. It had a huge window display with this epic statue of Sauron (not the Eye; the one who had his finger chopped off), an equally cool statue of Chewbacca, and a giant paper cutout of the Fourth Doctor, with a reproduction of the Fourth Doctor's scarf draped around it's thin neck. 
Inside was chaos. Lots of people looked here and there and dashing about. When you first walk in you are wowed by a huge glass case filled with figurines. The shop also boasted many t-shirts, a giant section of Doctor Who stuff, some pretty neat Star Trek and Lord of the Rings stuff, and merchandise from other fan bases as well. My mom wasn't too interested, so she sat and read her quilt magazine underneath a giant model of the Enterprise-D.

Downstairs, as I mentioned, there was a bookstore. I don't read a tremendous amount of modern fantasy and sci-fi, which is what they had a lot of, so we went pretty quick through that corner. Another section was devoted to comics and manga. They had a huge section for DVDs and an equally huge section dedicated to guides about certain TV shows and movies. I bought a Tolkien journal to take notes of our trip in.
Fun fact: 30 years ago, when my dad went traveling around Europe for a year, he had the same journal! Of course, they've given it a new cover, but the inside drawings are all the same!

Our final stop Friday night was Foyles Bookstore, one of the hugest bookstores in the world, I believe! (Though Powell's in Portland, Oregon could definitely rival it. Plus, Powell's has better prices. If London is too far away, go to Powell's! And give me a call. I'll meet you there and we can spend the day riffling through shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves [and shelves and shelves] of books and ignoring each other because of all the books!). 
I wanted to go to Foyles because, well, it's a giant bookstore! But also because I knew they would have The World of Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (all his Jeeves and Wooster short stories, save one, in one volume). I could have ordered it from Half Price, and probably saved some money, but I thought it would be fun to buy a book in London! I ended up getting three (all Jeeves and Wooster, because they are harder to find in the USA... or, at least where I live. I'm determined to read the novels in the right order and our silly library system has the first one, but not the second! For another of Wodehouse's series, the library has the second book, but not the first! ARGH!)

Four stories of bookish bliss. Since it was getting late, however, and we wanted to turn in a bit early, we didn't stay too long, and soon meandered back to our hotel, after nabbing some dinner. 

Thus ended our first day in London!

P.S. I do believe this marks my 100th post with the tagline "books"! *confetti*


  1. I love the new look of your blog! And I can't wait to read more about your trip!

    Oh, wait...
    I was on the trip with you....

    Still, I can't wait to relive the adventure through your commentary!

  2. Fun stuff! I love England. :) You're making me want to go back, as I've never been to any of the places you mentioned (those aren't the sorts of places you get to go when you go for a class at school... even a literature-based class). Forbidden Planet sounds like the sort of place I could get lost in... for like a year! :)

    1. Oooo, a literature-based class in England sounds like loads of fun! I think you'd enjoy Forbidden Planet too. If you ever go back, you'll have to check it out!

  3. I love your new blog design! It is really nice!
    I love hearing about your trip! Can't wait for the next one!

  4. ohhh the Tintin shop sounds great. Love your new header.

    1. Evidently there's also one in Holland... but I can't find any information in it. Thanks, I like it too!

  5. Wow Abbey, it looks like you guys had an amazing time! A shop dedicated to Tintin? That's PERFECT! Especially because he's your travelling buddy. :D