london, november 2010

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It's been over thirty years since I last visited London--a brief stop as our family returned from a sabbatical year in Malta. It's been over forty since I lived here as a child--on the first of my father's sabbaticals. But somehow, it felt familiar when I arrived on a rainy Monday morning. The voices, the colors, the sense of the city--they didn't feel foreign, didn't feel odd.

I took an airport shuttle into the city, not realizing that I could have easily taken the Underground--that's what I get for not doing my homework before the trip. The van dropped me off a block from my friend Alice's office, where I stopped in to get the keys to her flat. She was in meetings, so I headed back out, splurging on a taxi so I wouldn't have to wrestle my suitcase through the rain. I enjoyed every minute of the ride, watching the streets of the city through the rain-blurred window.

Rainy London Through Cab Window

Since my hosts weren't planning to be home 'til 8, I decided to attend the opening reception for Internet Week Europe, to which I'd received an invitation. It was an easy tube ride from the Old Street station near the flat to the Covent Garden stop, and a short walk from there to the nearby Hospital Club.

Outside Entrance to the Covent Garden Tube Stop

I'm so accustomed to attending tech events that I simply assumed there'd be familiar faces at this one, and it was a bit of a shock to realize that there weren't any. That turned out to be for the best, really, since my travel-addled brain wasn't really up for small talk. I settled myself in a relatively quiet corner with a passionfruit martini, and took full advantage of the very delicious appetizers that kept being brought by for me to sample--little gourmet versions of traditional British fare, like bangers and mash, and yorkshire pudding.

Once I'd eaten my fill, I simply left, and headed back to spend a lovely evening catching up with Alice and getting to know her daughter Poesy (Cory, alas, was in the US while I was in the UK).

On Tuesday I woke up surprisingly early, and headed off to the "official" hotel for the AdAge conference I was speaking at, The Montague on the Gardens. (While I'm being reimbursed for my travel costs, it was a little pricey for me to front the money for two nights there...) I dropped my bags, and headed to the British Library, where I browsed through the historical documents room (the Magna Carta! yowza!) and had a nice lunch in the cafe.

By then I was exhausted, the weather was still cold and rainy, and I decided to simply hole up in my room for the rest of the day. It was a lovely room, though a little small...

Montague on the Gardens Room 1

But then I looked out the window, and realized that I was literally across the street from the British Museum...and there was no way I could resist that lure. Three hours later, as the museum closed it doors, I only wished I'd had more time. From the Magna Carta in the morning to the Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra's Mummy in the afternoon. Not a bad day, all in all!

Cleopatra Mummy

Wednesday morning I packed up all my things (again; I got good at that on this trip) and headed to the Creativity & Technology conference venue. I've never spoken at an AdAge event before, and I have to say I was mightily impressed. They made me feel instantly welcome, the event ran like clockwork (in no small part due to the amazing work of David Teicher and Matt Kinsey, who'd handled all of the arrangements for my visit), and the other speakers were truly wonderful. I was very glad to have had the chance to participate--and I had a chance to meet a number of people I really enjoyed, including one of the brilliant minds behind the "man your man could smell like" campaign.

A car picked me up at lunchtime, and ferried me off to the airport, so I could head to Spain for the next part of my European adventure. I wish I'd had more time in London, but I felt as though I'd used what I had well...

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This page contains a single entry published on November 15, 2010 12:05 PM.

links for 2010-11-01 was the previous entry in this blog.

vitoria-gasteiz, november 2010 is the next entry in this blog.

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