Despite the fact that I have a fellowship application due this week, despite the fact that I have reading to do, and despite the fact that we’re having Sydney’s professors over for dinner tomorrow night, my thoughts are in London. Sydney and I spent nearly all of yesterday hunting down a hotel in London for the first leg of our trip. Although all of the sites online said it was full, I called the best-rated inexpensive hotel (yes, without really remembering the five-hour time difference) and managed to get their last room. I have an idea they’ve dealt with American customers before, as the gentleman on the other end of the line asked me repeatedly if I wanted the room, since it’s on the fourth floor (fifth floor, once you include the ground floor) and the hotel doesn’t have a lift. Sydney and I had a good laugh over that one, remembering our treks up the stairs to our respective dorm rooms in college (my last year I lived on the eighth floor). Ack, we have a home, and I can even map it on Google! Three days and night in London–woohoo!
We were also feeling a bit adrift in our travel plans until Sydney had the bright idea of hitting up Barnes & Noble for a map of London. Now we’re armed with a large foldout map and a small guide-with-map that I have already littered with sticky tags for places we want to see. My list may be a bit strange, as high on it is walking by Virginia Woolf’s old house (or two; we’ll see how much patience Sydney has for my strange interests). Also prominent is a growing list of used bookstores to hit! I’m finally getting excited about this whole shebang, now that I’ve turned some attention to it. I do, however, have some qualms about touristing myself, qualms that likely stem from my recent reading of all of E. M. Forster’s novels, in which he likes to poke fun at the bumbling tourist armed with guidebook and ignorance. So, in an attempt at prudence, I have covered over my guidebook’s garish covers with black paper 🙂 A small gesture, I know, but it’s better than nothing.
As for the bumbling tourist, I would guess that a genuine apology, and a sincere thank you will cover about any faux paus (sp?):)