Thursday, December 18, 2014

London Trip - Day 5 - Last Day in London

My adventure today started at lunch. Next to my office building in London, there were Christmas stands set up today. There were a variety of foods and knick-knacks for purchase at the stands. My team and I took a walk over to the stands for lunch. There were a lot of different kinds of foods, but I went with an English tradition called Bubble and Squeak. It is a fried mash up of potatoes, cabbage, leeks, and whatever other vegetables were left over from dinner the night before. The one I got came with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce on top. It was wonderful!

This evening was my company's Christmas Party. It was a lovely party. First, London has a tradition and even a charity associated with the Christmas jumper - better known in the USA as a tacky Christmas sweater. The company planned to have Christmas jumper day on the day of the London Christmas party. So, I picked up my jumper in the US before I came and got to wear it today. I was, however, very much out done by some of my coworkers who had much tackier jumpers than I did. Here is a pic of my lovely Christmas jumper.

The party started out with a secret Santa gift exchange. Since I am not part of this office location technically, I didn't expect to be included but I actually got 2 gifts! One was a full of beauty products and the other is a Christmas jumper coffee mug. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to take some of the beauty products home because of restrictions on the size of "liquids" with which one can travel. Still, the gifts were very thoughtful.

The party was a sit down dinner and at each seat there was a Christmas Cracker. Everyone holds one side of their own Christmas cracker and grabs an end of their neighbor's cracker and pulls until the crackers break open and a small toy, a paper crown (which everyone wore all throughout dinner), and a small card with a joke on it fall out.  Here was my Christmas cracker and the joke from inside it. Unfortunately, the toy went flying and I never found it - but apparently that's part of the fun! 

I really didn't understand the joke in my Christmas cracker (read the joke above). My coworkers thought it was a hilarious joke and tried to explain it to me. Finally, they determined that the problem is that I have never had mince pie.  So, after dinner - I had mince pie as my coworkers all looked on in anticipation waiting to see my reaction (fully expecting that I would love it). I'll admit - it was pretty good! Here is my mince pie -

Well, tomorrow morning I am off to the airport to come home to the USA. I  am definitely glad that I will see my family soon - but I am going to miss London! This was a wonderful trip and London is a wonderful place. The people here are very friendly, helpful, and very nice to tourists! Time and again, complete strangers took an extra few seconds to ask how I was enjoying London (restaurant workers, store clerks, police, cab drivers, etc.). When I would answer that I was loving London they became so proud of their home and would tell me stories, histories, and make recommendations on what to see next. It was so nice. People here are very proud of their city/country and they are extremely nice to tourists. 

Tomorrow, after I check out I will post again with any final notes on my first trip to London. 


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