Our flight got into Stansted about mid-morning and Maxjet was kind enough to arrange for showers and gym at the Stansted Raddisson hotel. Since we're on vacation we obviously decling the gym but a shower makes a lot of sense.
I had a nice conversation with a Brit in the locker room who wanted my reaction to famed English footballer David Beckham's move to LA the day before. Had I been quicker-witted, I would have told him that LA doesn't have any football teams (1) (and they can't have my Vikes).
Freshly laundered, we set off on the a train headed into the City Centre(2), transferred to "The Underground" and found our way to the Bayswater stop and subsequently our lodging at the Craven Gardens Inn. This hotel, really hotel/hostel, is quite near Notting Hill and comparatively inexpensive for London. We set our for a late lunch and decided to have fish and chips(3) at a pub near the Tube stop.
Afterwards, we stopped back to the hotel for a quick nap that lasted several hours and woke up in time to miss the big crowds as walked through the streets of Notting Hill. We have our bank accounts at an American bank that is owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland and our local teller informed us we can use the RBS ATMs in London with out getting knocked with extra fees. We walked and walked and walked and finally found some nice Bobbies who told us where we could find one.
We took a round about path back to the hotel through Kensington and Hyde Park. London is full of huge parks and my understanding is that these were at one time hunting and rec grounds for the Royals that have been turned over the public. What a great concept - that were quite popular and surprisingly clean.
1. Who came up with "soccer" anyway? Oh, apparently this guy. 2. Downtown to my fellow Americans 3. Now the second most popular meal in London