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Europe - London

I've spent the past 16 days in Europe.

I'm back briefly for a few days and then will be flying to Florida for a week to attend my grandfather's 90th birthday celebration and associated family reunion. I hope in another 21 years we will be celebrating his "eleventy-first" although his health is not what it used to be so I wouldn't bet on it.

Main cities visited: London, Paris, Lyon, Geneva. I'd only ever been in Europe once before--when I was 17, I went on a summer trip to Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, and Slovakia with classmates in my German class. So seeing some of France, England, and Switzerland filled in some big gaps. Next time I go back, Rome, Amsterdam, and Barcelona are at the top of my list to see although I cannot predict what other circumstances may lead me elsewhere. Rome because it has the most history, Amsterdam and Barcelona because I've heard that they're just really fun cities. Although who knows, maybe I would rather go to Asia or Africa next time neither of which I've been to at all?

London: Went to a gothic industrial event known as Antichrist with luxvalence. We were originally planning on going to Slimelight the night after too, but we were both pretty warn out by then and the Antichrist event (which happened to be their 5th anniversary celebration) was a hefty 25 Pound ($40) cover, enough for me to spend on clubbing for a while. But let me tell you, the London goth scene is far from dead! These people really know how to dress, and how to throw an event. Much bigger than any goth event I've been to in the US, had lots of big rooms with some live acts and some DJ's, a bdsm room, a pitch black makeout/sex room with bowls of condoms at the door, a strip tease (boys vs. girls), a fire swallowing act, and a cross you can crucify yourself on and get your photo taken in your sexy outfit, for another hefty fee. Got dragged into the makeout room by a pretty hot goth guy with long blond hair who liked to bite and scratch... since we hadn't even talked at all (just danced a bit) I felt uncomfortable going all the way with him so I stopped things after they started going too far; I did feel like a bit of a tease, although it was really good practice for me in asserting my boundaries and feeling free to say no. London also has a bunch of free museums that I went to. Had tea and scones in the afternoon with luxvalence, and fish and chips and bangers and mash at a British pub later on. Saw Buckingham Palace and various other touristy things, although not inside or anything. Did my best to Mind the Gap while I was riding the tube! Oh, and I went to a cool place called Cyberdog in Camden, which I have pictures of... and ate some curry on Brick Lane which was difficult to describe but pretty cool.

Took the Eurostar 1st class from London to Paris, through the Chunnel. (For some reason for this particular time and day the 2nd class seats were actually more expensive than 1st class... and I think it was because 1st class was cheaper than usual.) The meal they served on it was excellent, and my first taste of French food which was a remarkably sudden change from British food. I was also just generally very impressed with how much more comfortable trains are than airplanes to travel... much more leg room, don't have to turn your cellphone or laptop off, no annoying rumbling and loud noise the whole time, normal air instead of dried out recirculated airplane air, quicker time through security... the list goes on. Why does the US use airplanes again? I never realized just how much they suck until experiencing the alternative.

I'm saving Paris and Geneva for the next post (or two).



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 12th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
Ah, Cyberdog. I spent a good bit of $ there. The tale of my commando-style 8-minute raid of their premises followed by a mad dash to the airport deserves telling at some point.

And yes, London does goth/industrial very very well.

Glad you're having fun.

Edited at 2009-07-12 12:20 am (UTC)
Jul. 12th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
The tale of my commando-style 8-minute raid of their premises followed by a mad dash to the airport deserves telling at some point.

I'll have to remember to ask you about that next time I see you. You going to Tortuga beach BBQ party?
Jul. 13th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Jul. 13th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
I think the advantage of airplanes is in terms of infrastructure. You just need to build an airport and sufficient runways at each end, while for train, you need to get right-of-way and build track for the entire length. If you want the train to go fast, then you have even more constraints, since the rail needs to be almost perfectly straight for very long distances, which makes the right-of-way acquisition even harder.
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:08 am (UTC)
I was also wondering if it was also a time thing. For really long distances (like all the way across the US) a plane can beat a train. But for the kinds of distances you would find in Europe, or most of the US, it seems like they would be comparable especially if you factor in the extra time it takes to go through security at an airport. It could also be the the crossover distance where plane becomes faster has increased significantly post-911 but the US infrastructure hasn't had time to adapt to the new market conditions.
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC)
Also, regarding the time thing, for those trips where planes *are* faster, I wonder if the value Americans place on "getting there as fast as possible" is higher than Europeans, who may value things like comfort more instead. A similar thing seems to have happened with restaurants, with more Americans opting for fast food over higher quality sit-down food.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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