London Day 4: Christmas

Christmas Day began with a lazy roll out of bed. After a phone call home,  we decided to walk around to explore parts of the city we had yet to see. Because of the holiday, the Underground wasn’t running, so our options were to walk or take a cab. Because of our poor experience with our cabbie on Day 1, we decided to walk to the London Bridge.

Our walk took us through Pimlico and Victoria, across the Thames, and through some neighborhoods that were designed around the color gray. Gray homes on gray streets with gray sidewalks, and I’m not entirely convinced it was the overcast weather creating the dark aura. We walked for an hour before needing food and searching for an open restaurant. We were limited in our options and settled on some kind of unreputable chicken hut where Kenny ordered a chicken sandwich and received a quarter pounder.

We made it to the Bridge and saw where the people we hadn’t seen on our walk had been hiding. The crowd was refreshing and helped return some life to the city on a holiday  relies on community. We walked the length of the Bridge, then explored the side streets along the Thames. We saw The Globe Theater and St. Paul’s Cathedral before walking an hour and a half back to the hotel.

There’s an eeriness to being in a foreign city away from family on a major holiday. An unspoken sullenness hung in the air between us: we both missed our families and the meals we could be sharing with them that night. When dinnertime rolled around and we could roll ourselves out of our room, we couldn’t decide on what to eat for dinner. As we would come to find out in an hour, that wasn’t a decision that was necessarily ours to make. I don’t know if this is standard in all cities, but in London’s Pimlico neighborhood, restaurants compete for business with their Christmas Ever Prix Fix menus. We walked up and down the street, which was as far as our legs could carry us, comparing menus in windows, before we arrived back at The Windermere Brasserie, embarrassingly close to closing time, for a delicious Christmas dinner. We laughed with the Windermere staff as they toasted the holiday and closed up the restaurant.

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