The Ups and Downs of London Shopping

After gazing upwards and appreciating the beautiful buildings in the center of Piccadilly Square, we were ready to visit our first site on our list, Buckingham Palace. According to our map it wasn’t too far. Now, for those who know me, know I have no sense of direction, but thank God, Kathy does. If it were left to me, we still wouldn’t be there. It was a nice walk that took us through a large park. I love a city that offers a sanctuary from the hustle of noise and traffic. The park had a pond in the middle with lots of wild life. There were hundreds of ducks that were so use to people they walked alongside them looking to be fed. It was fun watching the joy it brought to the children.

Kathy at the gates of Buckingham Palace

When we approached the palace it was majestic in size. Knowing this is where the royal family resides was intriguing to me. I couldn’t imagine living in a place where every day of the year there would be hundreds of people lining up to get a glimpse of you, but then again, I’m not royalty. I wished we could of toured the palace but we hadn’t bought tickets and only had a limited amount of time. However, just walking around the gates and seeing the guards dressed in those bright red suits and hats were enough for us. It was truly a sight to behold. Of course we took lots of pictures, along with the other hundreds of tourists.
As we headed back through the park, the thing that really caught my eye was how most people were dressed. I have lived in Maine most of my adult life and it’s never been known for setting any trends for fashion, but OMG, London is. Except for the tourist (easy to pick out of the crowd) almost everyone was dressed to the nines. The women were in heels, stylishly dressed with gorgeous hair and make-up. The men (ladies you would love it) wore custom designed suits or nice jeans and dress shirt. It was almost like you were at a GQ convention. My eyes were enjoying the sites. Of course there were many tourists and especially Asian. There was a young guy, Matt, that worked on the ship and loved Asian women. So when I saw an absolutely gorgeous Asian woman standing outside the front of a department store, I asked if she would mind if I took her picture. She graciously smiled and posed for me. I knew Matt was going to love it.

For Matty J, he loved beautiful Asian women

After visiting a few more sites, we got down to business; it was time to go clothes shopping. I know most guys hate clothes shopping and would rather have a tooth pulled. But to most women, it’s the bomb! Especially shopping somewhere they have never been and knowing it’s endless. I guess if you compare it to what guys like, it would be similar to being allowed into your favorite sports teams locker room and hanging with the team and discussing the game. BORING!!!!! That is one of the major differences between men and woman and I thank God every day I wasn’t born a male.
Trying to decide where to start was a bit tough, as there were hundreds of shops and so many that we had never heard of. We started on one side of the street and decided to work our way down, cross over and work our way back up. Of course, we didn’t have unlimited funds, (hopefully one day will) so when we first entered a store we would quickly look at a price tag. From this, we could determine whether to leave or continue shopping.
Kathy and I have somewhat different styles, but can appreciate each other’s. She would be browsing and call over to me to show me something she found that she thought I would love. A few minutes later, I would call to her to show her something. It’s great to have this sort of tag team when you don’t have much time, as we wouldn’t want to miss a great find. It wasn’t long before we both had a couple bags of great finds. We were famished and decided to take a break and have lunch.
As in shopping, there were plenty of places to eat and I wish I had time to try them all. We decided on an Italian place that looked really inviting. It felt good to sit and get off our feet, even though we were in comfortable shoes it was still a lot of walking. We got to laughing as there was a strange looking plant that was eye level to where Kathy was seated. I noticed it as I went to take her picture and it loomed to the side. It almost looked like it wanted a kiss (I guess you had to be there to appreciate).

A plant trying to steal a kiss from Kathy

After lunch, we found more wonderful stores. Each one was a bit different than the last. As we were walking down the main street we came across an alley way that lots of people were coming out of. We decided to check it out and were glad we did. It opened into a type of open air market with lots of different and unique vendors. We were both looking for a specific gift for a friend and this ended up being the place. We browsed and shopped for a couple hours. By now, our arms were filled and our pockets empty. It was time to make our way back to the “tube” and head home.
We knew from our schedule that the next train to our stop would be leaving in 10 minutes, so even though we were exhausted, we hurried along. Both of us didn’t want to wait another half hour for the next train. As we approached the station, I checked the time and we had approximately three minutes to go. We quickly ran down the stairs, clutching tightly to our bags. The train pulled up right as we hit the bottom of the stairs. “This way”, Kathy yelled as she was directly in front of me. With a rush of a few others, we ran towards an open door. Just as we were getting into the train car, my foot hit up against Kathy’s left foot heel and her shoe came off. It fell perfectly between the train and the platform to the bottom of the rail. As she realized what happened and turned around, the door closed shut. She looked at me and then to her foot with a shocked expression. As I realized what happened, Kathy busted out laughing. There she stood with one foot fully covered and the other with just a sock. I too, couldn’t help but to laugh. It was hysterical to see her standing there with both arms full of shopping bags and one foot with only a sock on. The entire ride home, we tried to contain ourselves but it didn’t work. All we had to do was look at each other and we would immediately bust out laughing. Others around us would look oddly at the two hysterical Americans. They had no clue as to why we were laughing.

Kathy shopping in London with only one shoe.

As we got off the train to walk the three blocks to the hotel, I again was grateful that my traveling companion was Kathy. Who else would have taken it all in stride and laugh at her own misfortune? She was the best sport ever!


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