September 9, 2000
The trip to JFK, which we fretted about prior to departure, ended up getting us to the airport in almost record time (of course). On one hand, we were relieved to be at the airport, on the other hand we now had 4 1/2 hours before departure. To put this in perspective, we almost spent as much time at the airport as we spent flying to England.
We arrived in London under overcast skies, almost a perfect English day. The first tourist attraction we visited was the new Tate Modern. The building, once a power plant, has been transformed into a magnificent showcase for modern art. At first I was unimpressed, not grasping the whole architectural achievement. After spending a few hours wandering around, my opinion changed dramatically and I walked away with an enormous amount of admiration and respect for what had transpired there. I would highly recommend a day at the Tate Museum to the budget traveler - admission is free - and also an egg-salad sandwich in the trendy café. The meal, which includes a free copy of the Guardian newspaper, is under two pounds. For London, a bargain.
September 14, 2000
I can’t believe we’re already at the end of our week in England. Most of our time here has been spent traveling around visiting Bill’s family and friends. Some of the highlights have to be: the pub lock-in in Bristol, seeing Eton students (born to be the future rulers of England) wearing their uniform of black full-length tuxedos, and a breakfast in Bill’s brother’s backyard that was interrupted by our first sighting of a Northern Goshawk – an extremely rare occurrence in that part of England.
Today is our day of relaxing and regrouping before we set out for Istanbul tomorrow. This week we also added five new birds to our lifelist - pop the champagne and bring on the dancing horses. We broke our 500th new bird (if anyone is counting – or cares). The English tanker blockade, which caused a tremendous amount of problems at the beginning of the week, may be easing a bit, and we think we might even get to the airport tomorrow.