After Budapest, we still had a few days holiday left so we decided to have a night in London. We travelled down on the Thursday and arrived at Kings Cross about 1330. From there, we went straight to Leicester Square by tube to buy tickets for the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “The Bible” from the half price Tckts booth.

Our purchase made, we looked around for somewhere for lunch and ended up at the Mediterranean Kitchen on St Martin’s Terrace – we picked there because they used a nice clean, simple font on their signs/menus (I wish I was kidding about this; I’m a sucker for nice clean fonts). The lunch was very nice: we had a meze selection to share to start and then I had a tuna nicoise salad for my main course and John had a goats cheese and roast vegetables in filo pastry thing. The service was excellent even though we looked like scruffy bums with our backpacks and it cost about the same as it would up here.

From there, we walked down to the hotel – the Royal Horseguards Thistle Hotel – via Trafalgar Square. We got a little lost trying to find it because it was hidden behind scaffolding and when we finally got there, we found the reception staff to be rather snooty and the room itself was small with a strange smell. It drastically contrasted with the very modern hotel we had stayed in a couple of days earlier in Budapest as it was a very traditional room, with pseudo-antique furniture – but we could live with that: the size and the smell factor though were decidedly off-putting. It seemed to be a single room rather than a double and I felt that we had been squeezed in there because we had got it through a cheap internet deal. Bah.

We didn’t stay in the room long because we didn’t have a lot of time in the city: there was no scheduled relaxation time. We went back up to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery but quickly got bored once we had seen all the usual cool ones (the most modern ones; in the first few rooms you get to if you turn right at the top of the first lot of stairs). I sought out my favourites from the rest (Canaletto’s paintings of Venice) then left the gallery for a quick walk around Covert Garden.

In the evening, we walked from the hotel up to Piccadilly Circus for the play. I had heard such good things about the Reduced Shakespeare Company so was really looking forward to it. It SUCKED. Seriously. Maybe John and I have a high-humour threshold because we’re such goddamn funny people, and maybe the type of humour that makes us vomit from laughing too hard is not the type of humour you find in many places outside of a Family Guy episode, but in the whole first act, we smiled perhaps once and didn’t heartily chuckle at all. All of the jokes seemed either easy, safe or silly just because “oh, it’s funny to have a stupid person with a high pitched voice” – or usually all three. They were the type of jokes that we would dismiss as first draft in anything we were writing/saying. We had forked out close to �40 for the tickets but we still walked out at the interval: my first ever walk out, awww.

We walked back into Leicester Square and went to Wagamama’s for dinner – we had been planning on going there after the show anyway. Jackie introduced me to Wagamama’s when we had a day trip to London with Dan to watch “When Harry met Sally” a couple of month earlier and again, it didn’t disappoint. I can’t remember what we ate for our main meals but I remember the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake. Mmmm. That rescued the evening by itself :)

We sat in Trafalgar Square for a bit to allow our meals to digest then wandered down to the Houses of Parliament. We talked a bit to the protestors on the grass opposite Westminster, including Brian Haw. The rain drove us back to our hotel though and we spent the night fighting over the tiny duvet – which seemed to confirm the single room suspicion.

– written up from notes August 2005