Europe 2010: Day 1 – Kensington June 25, 2010 at 8:59 pm

2 airline meals, countless drinks and 10 hours later, Suzanne & I landed in Heathrow. It was 8AM London time (midnight Californian time), the next day. The 10 hour “red-eye” flight would hardly been tolerable had it not been for season 1 of Big Bang Theory. At least it was a direct flight.

We hailed one of those ubiquitous black taxi cabs and made it to the Kensington Hotel through the gnarly morning London traffic. First impression: construction everywhere. Apparently, London is on an expanding and/or modernization.

After checking in, we took a 20 minutes walk to The Natural History Museum. There were buses unloading school kids in cute uniforms. There was a long line (or queue as the Brits would say) of people waiting to enter. We were immediately struck by the architecture of the museum. The museum was a lot bigger than we both imagined. The walls were a layered of gray/blue and yellow bricks or stones. The reaching spires were imposing.

Every inch of the exterior was elaborately adorned. The details simply overwhelm you. My two favorite features were the entrance with its complex arches and columns and the numerous ferocious gargoyles perched on top looking down at you– leaving no doubt in your mind that they are ready to defend the treasures in the museums!

I entered the museum I was immediately stopped cold by this massive dinosaur skeleton in the middle of the museum, greeting you. This thing was huge and long. We saw all sorts of stuffs while dodging excited school kids. The collection of skeletons were amazing. Too bad, we didn’t get to see all of the impressive dinosaur collections. We also saw a complete fossil of a pliosaurus, one of those swimming dinosaur. It was huge.

At one end of museum, atop a massive flight of stairs, sit a life-sized white marble statue of the most famous of British sons: Charles Darwin. There was a display of Darwin’s stuffs but we didn’t make way to see it. We also saw an impressive collection of stuffed birds. There was a display of hundreds of types of humming birds. And I saw 2 stuffed dodo birds! Never seen those in “real life.” That was anoher highlight for me.

There was also a massive collection of minerals and gemstones but that section didn’t seem to attract a lot of people especially kids. We headed back to the hotel after spending 3 hours in the museum, overwhelmed but totally exhausted. All these treasures and the museum charges no entry fee! Sweet…

After a nap, we walked toward Earl’s Court, checking out the local restaurants that lined the street. The place was pretty happening. The Greek restaurant I targeted proved too far for tired legs, so we sneaked into a place called Nandos Chickenland– mixing with the locals and other tourists. The people next table to us sounded like Italians. After a light dinner of marinated olives, roasted chicken and Brazilian beer, we headed back to the hotel to turn in early.

Day 2 will be a busy day, capping with an afternoon bike tour of London which is something I’m looking forward to.

One Response to “Europe 2010: Day 1 – Kensington”

  1. The massive publicity surrounding him and his flight boosted the aviation industry and made a skeptical public take air travel seriously. Within a year of his flight, a quarter of Americans (an estimated thirty million) personally saw Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. Over the remainder of 1927 applications for pilot’s licenses in the U.S. tripled, the number of licensed aircraft quadrupled, and U.S. Airline passengers grew between 1926 and 1929 by 3,000% from 5,782 to 173,405.

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