We left the hotel at 11 am ready for our day off of seeing downtown London. You aren't allowed to drive the big Sprinter/Tour Vans downtown, not to mention parking would be nearly impossible, so we set off to navigate the London Tube system, which is a series of 13 underground subways that criss-cross around the city. I have spent time in the New York subway system, but the London one seems more complex. We were all nervous about making our way through the system as a bunch of tourists, but luckily we made our way around fine and never got lost. We started off our day by heading to Oxford Circus, which is a nicer shopping area close to the heart of downtown London. While some of the guys hit the stores, Jeremiah and I went sight seeing through the area. After walking around, we decided to grab some lunch at a Pizza Hut. Thinking we could grab a quick slice of pizza. To our amazement Pizza Huts in the UK are like 4 star dining experiences. There is waiters all in black uniforms, menu's and the dining area looks more like a high class Starbucks than the cheap pizza delivery service we are used to. One thing we have noticed across our journey of Europe is that European's do not like extremes. Everything is very mild, such as drinks, Soda's are barely colder than luke warm, ice is a luxury that is you are lucky you can score 3 ice cubes, precisely counted before put in your drink. The candy is never super sweet, the sour is never that sour, the ketchup is more like watered down tomato sauce, everything tastes slightly off from the extremes we are used to as Americans. I can't tell you how badly I crave waffles from Wafflehouse in the south. With HOT coffee, SWEET syrup and all the grease and salt my American body can handle.
After a couple hours of Oxford Circus, we once again ventured into the tubes to head to Camden Town, which is more of a seedy Rock n Roll type part of town, or atleast as we had been told. We were in search of a metal shop in that part of town with hopes of finding all those metal T-shirts, patches, and garbage you can never find. The store was hardly what we had built it up in our heads to be. It was more of a stripped down Hot Topic focused on metal memorabilia. But the town was a cool area to see, it had more of an old town feel with very unique facades on the front of the buildings, as well as some hand crank operated locks to control the water level of the rivers that also serves to transfer the boats from one level to the next.
After our time there, we headed back in the tubes to get to Holloway Road, where Peter, our driver, had a friend from Hungry who worked at a Tattoo parlor called "Haunted." We all piled into the shop, nearly consuming their entire lobby, and all waited in line while each of the 8 of us got matching Tattoos. The design is of the stars of the European flag with the DH "V" logo for the new record and the year 2010 scripted into it. Just as a little commemoration of our first European adventure. It took nearly 6 hours for each of us to get the tattoo done. Afterwords we walked down to a local American styled dive, had some food, and shortly there after sprinted back to the tubes to make our trek back across the downtown before they shut down for the night.
All in all London is an amazing city, which I am sure comes as no surprise to anyone, the city is way too big to try and soak in on just 1 day off. But we had nearly 2 nights of solid sleep, and we are ready to hit the road and get up to Essex and continue our European adventure.
An American "minding the gap" in London