So, I packed a few necessities and flew to London and took the extremely expensive Heathrow express to Paddington (because i thought I was in a hurry), hurried down to the London Guards Hotel, dropped off my stuff, took the wrong tube, changed to the correct one and arrived at the George just to find that I was only the third one to arrive , but my dear friends hati and hapi were there, so that was okay.
However, there were also about 300 strangers, who all seemed to need a pint the same time I did...
Oh well, I survived, and then we started to look for Santragenius V – or rather: his hat. He always wears a hat. Only this day, he didn't. But we saw him anyway, and it only took one single giant roar from the hippo to make Santra aware of us.
A bit later a lot of other people arrived. It was good to see friends we had met before, and to meet a few new ones we only knew from the screen.
It turned chilly and of course I got tired (like I use to do around 10pm due to my strange sleep- and w*rk-patterns), but we got through the evening all right and took the tube back to the hotel in good time to sleep and have breakfast before the big day.
I met with hati and hapi and took the train to Kew were I had a second breakfast (while they had their first), then took the tube back to Bank where I joined the other gang (hey, nice name for a band!), which was guided through central London by Reddyfreddy, whom I had met in Düsseldorf last summer, and who did an excellent job.
We ended up in the 'Shakespeare's Head' and met with the others – again: friends we had met before, and friends we had not. Food was good. Drinks were even better.
Sunday I had breakfast at the hotel and second breakfast with hati and hapi at the Swan before hapi had to leave. Then hati and I took the bus to Victoria where she left for eek-land1 while I headed for – Battersea...
I had rented a flat from my union (which owns flats and summer houses all over Europe) and in spite of what my colleague had told me ('there was no toilet seat'), I found everything in mint condition. I also managed to find Sainsbury's and spent the next few days touristing until my daughter came to visit me Wednesday - then we really started touristing!
So, of course we went to Portobello Road (twice!), Camden market, Oxford street and Canary Wharf - plus Saint Paul's and Greenwich village (where I found 'cutty sark' wrapped in plastic. )
My daughter started talking about musicals which made me mention the Army museum - so we never saw either.
But Saturday we saw the European Song Contest about something almost – yet not entirely – resembling music. And while the juries were voting, I saw Man U win the championship. Well done, lads.
We had been promised torrential rain for days, and, in all fairness, there had been quite a lot of it, only we never saw any until I had to take the bus to Victoria on Sunday morning. From there I took the tube to criss-cross/saint pancakes2, and jumped on the Eurostar train to Paris where I met with my eldest son a couple of hours later.
We had dinner at the same restaurant three days in a row and it was perfect, bordering on okay.
As it turned out, I was living next door to Tour Montparnasse, which is a 210 metre high office building from where you can literally see Paris. So I did. I also went to see the arcs and - of course - Jim Morrison's grave. plus Chopin's (which I stumbled upon by pure accident).
I managed to fight the temptation to climb the Eiffel Tower and also managed to ignore a few people who found gold rings lying around near me, and took the plane home on Wednesday evening.
The train from Copenhagen airport was of course delayed for just enough minutes for me to have to wait for another whole hour before I could catch the train to my home town.
However, eventually I got here – and even though I absolutely loved to see London and Paris and meeting old and new friends, I am soooooo happy to be back in my little town.