March 2013


From Aluminum Tube to London Tube in 30 Minutes.

London Glass

Along my walk.

I’m in London for a short holiday – and my first day was most excellent.

Given Heathrow norms (an airport I try to avoid), I fully expected to spend an hour, if not two, clearing immigration. Instead, I went from the aluminum tube to the London Tube in about 30 minutes – a (relatively speaking) close in gate, in combination with a surprisingly short non-EU/Swiss immigration line, plus the fact that my luggage was waiting for me, meant that I was quickly out into the city.

Although my room wasn’t yet ready, I put my suitcase in storage and headed out to see the city – I really only had a couple of plans for the day: Have lunch with the famous @torchyboy, hit up the Apple Store to fix a problem with my iPhone, and go to Foyles, the bookshop.

Given my surprisingly early arrival, I ended up taking a lovely walk across London, getting lost in the process, but having a Latte at Café Nero. One place where Germany is way ahead of much of the rest of the world is in milk at coffee shops: reputable coffee shops (including the major chains and the independents) all stock lactose-free milk. When I asked for it at Café Nero, he offered soymilk. Soymilk works, but barely. It doesn’t have quite the right texture or flavor – actually I find the flavor to be slightly nasty, so I end up putting in sugar, something I never do with lactose-free milk, unless I am feeling cheeky.


I passed this coffee shop after passing Café Nero. Should have gone here…

Lunch with @torchyboy was, like last time, great. I got to see bits of East London that I’d never seen before – and this is certainly going to be the trip of East London as I have further plans that direction later this weekend.

Chicken and Mushroom Pie

What I ate for lunch. @torchyboy had the same

After lunch I headed to the Apple Store where, since I was early, I took advantage of the time to do a little emergency work. Eventually a Genius showed up (I think his name was James), who took one look at my problems (the power button really wasn’t working at all; plus the camera lens had dust in it), and fetched me a replacement iPhone – after making sure that the UK ones were the same as German ones.

Boris Bikes!

Boris Bikes!

Honestly, if Berlin had the Apple Store that we theoretically are supposed to have, I would have taken care of it a month ago – but I looked ahead at my calendar and waited.

Having gotten to the Apple Store early, I ended up squeezing in a Bloomington friend (thanks to Twitter) for tea – then, as I started fading, ran in and out of Foyles – got two of the books on my list, and went back to the hotel. I think I was in bed by 8:00 local time. Of course I’d gotten up at 4:30 Berlin time.

Leather Lane

While lost I visited Leather Lane.

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