OK, so Day 2 in London has been much much better. The Sister and I have adapted to London pretty fast. On the first day we were kind of lost. We had no idea how to use the public transportation system, which places served good food (and ended up eating in a horrible place called Garfunkel’s that turned out to be a chain for tourists), which areas should be visited, and how much anything was supposed to cost.
Today, however, we did much better. We used buses masterfully, getting exactly where we wanted to. I finally fulfilled a long-standing dream and bought myself a real Cornish pasty. Also, I got many different British soaps because I have this strange addiction to good soaps and I remember from my visit in 1990 that English soaps are the best in the world. They smell too good for words.
We found a very good restaurant with a veranda in a quiet little street. They served real jamon serrano there. In North America, when you order jamon serrano, you get something more like Canadian honey glazed ham, which is great in its own right but has nothing to do with the Iberian jamon. The sister ordered a lamb chop with peas and mint sauce. This is a dish nobody should leave the country without trying, in my opinion.
The Sister has a 2,5-year-old daughter, my niece Klubnikis, so we visited Hammel’s, a huge toy store. I dread American toy stores because they are normally very boring. However, in this toy store, instead of rows upon rows of scary-looking Barbies, they had such amazing, educational, creative toys that we bought enough for all of Klubnikis’s little friends.
We also stopped looking completely out of place, and people with British accents asked us for directions on three separate occasions. And on two of those occasions we were actually capable of helping them.
Tomorrow we are going to Berlin, and it feels very strange to go to Berlin on May 9. I’ve never been in Germany before but The Sister has. She tells me that when she was travelling in Germany a few years ago, she kept having flashbacks of tanks moving down the roads. The collective memory of what we call the Great Patriotic War is very strong among us. Our grandfather on our mother’s side was in the war. He marched all the way to the Reichstag and wrote our last name on its walls.
I wouldn’t have minded staying in London longer. Just as we started to feel comfortable in the city, we have to leave.