Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quick trip across the pond

Being on the road all the time and desperately looking for some time off, I was looking to spend several weeks relaxing at or close to home in December. Well so much for best laid plans... I got an offer that was too good to be true, a trip to London under the cover of business that had the payoff of getting to see my favorite band on their home turf. While I have a hard time complaining about traveling too much and then taking an elective trip, I still thought it was too good to pass up so off I went...

The trip over is a 9 hour flight from Denver, but I was able to fly direct on British Airways which was nice. Even nicer was that I flew club class on the way over, meaning I had the full on royal treatment and a fold out bed to sleep in.

Things were looking up already as I scrolled through my in-flight entertainment options, one of my favorite mountain biking videos.

Then the food parade started to roll out. A four course meal on the plane, unheard of, and tasty as well.

Once arriving it was a bit of a blur. I left Denver about 6pm and landed in London around 9am. After a taxi ride to the hotel, quick shower I donned a sportcoat and tie and headed to the office. After putting in a pretty good day on no sleep, I then headed over to the train station to wait for two coworkers to arrive to grab some late dinner. 

At the train station, checking out the Lego Christmas tree.

A company meeting the next day, some sightseeing and then the London office Christmas party. Some good food, good wine and then off to the concert. I've seen Coldplay live at least five or six times, and this would be my third country (US, Canada and now the UK) and they have never disappointed.

Checking out Tower Bridge, which is much more impressive than the rather bland London Bridge

Concert time at the O2 arena.

Floor seats always make for a better experience. Early on the balloons drop on the crowd.

Then the confetti canons get started

After the concert I had a full day to do whatever I pleased. Despite no sleep, I got up early and headed out. I wanted to see as much as I could so I took as much advice from my European coworkers and all the people that offered it.  My hotel was in a great location and I was getting to be a pro on navigating the tubes, so off I went.

First stop, from my hotel to Big Ben and Parliament was a simple walk across the bridge, a walk that I did at least 10 times in my few days.

From London Trip

My hotel and the London Eye
From London Trip

Hey look, Big Ben...
From London Trip

First stop was Westminster Abbey. No pics allowed inside, but what an amazing place. Sitting inside was pretty overwhelming to think about all the greats you were laid to rest or had passed through this building over the years.
From London Trip

The over to see the Queen's digs
From London Trip

From London Trip

After walking around town, I decided to do the double decker bus tour bit. I opted for the version with a live narator, it was nice as I could hop on / off the bus whenever I pleased and had a day pass on the tubes. I covered a tremendous amount of territory in my one day, history at every turn in this city.

St. Paul's Cathedral. Turns out this wasn't for Paul McCartney, but I'd argue maybe it should be.
From London Trip

In Tralfalgar Square there was a gathering of Santa Clauses, attempting to break to world record for most Santas. Crazy to see thousands of St. Nick's hanging out at a monument.
From London Trip

Then I was treated to an amazing London sunset, here looking out over Big Ben / Parliament from the hotel
From London Trip

Then my favorite shot from the trip...The London Eye and County Hall all lit up at night
From London Trip

After that it was a long flight back home, unpack a suitcase and load another up. In the next 10 days I'd be in Colorado, Arkansas, Texas and Arizona. 

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