Posted on 2007/01/03 14:29:24 (January 2007).
[Saturday 30th December]
Given that Chie was flying back to Japan tomorrow, we decided as usual it would be best for us to stay the last night somewhere near the airport. So around lunchtime we said our goodbyes, left Abergavenny, and got on a train for London.
There had been some indecision over where we should stay exactly. As always I pulled towards the convenient but expensive options, and Chie was championing the cheap but potentially quite awkward alternatives. To my surprise I eventually won the debate (very generous of Chie to let me get my own way!) and so we chose to stay at the Hilton in London Paddington. The hotel is stupidly over priced for what it is, but it meant as soon as we arrived in London we could drop off our bags and have a nice relaxing evening in London, then just get on the Heathrow Express (again, over priced for what it is) the next morning which would have us in Heathrow in 15 minutes.
So we arrived at Paddington around 3:30, and were checked in and liberated of our cumbersome baggage within minutes. We decided to have a very late lunch in our room, so popped out to the Marks and Spencer in Paddington station to buy an assortment of goodies and a bottle of red wine. We passed the remainder of the afternoon lounging around in the hotel and it was very nice.
We'd arranged to meet up with Chie's friend Akino-san in the evening, so headed into the centre around 8ish, and met up with them at Covent Garden, to visit an old favourite of mine - Cafe Pacifico, a Mexican restaurant. The atmosphere in there was really buzzing, and following the "reverse culture shock" experience we'd had in London the previous week, I started to think I was actually looking forward to living in the Big Smoke again.
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