Then we had about six hours of free time before pub trivia at The Red Lion. At this point I would like to point out that, in case you didn’t know, Ain’t It Cool News’ Eric Vespe (aka Quint) and Paul Shirley of JoBlo are awesome human beings. I know they’re awesome because they were willing to hang out with me while I traversed the famous four-and-a-half story toy store, Hamleys.
Hamleys is world-renowned, and when you enter, it’s not difficult to figure out why (unless you hate children, toys, and fun; then you may be at a loss). Employees fly remote-controlled helicopters, show off airbrushing art, do magic tricks, and more. Also, constantly being cheerful is apparently a requirement. It’s a sensible requirement if you’re around children who are probably about to burst from joy and parents who are rethinking their decision to bring those children to this wonderland. As an adult, I can appreciate the store. I can marvel at this “Metal Art Monster” that strongly resembles Predator:
Or this abomination of Power Ranger action figures glued together to make a gigantic Power Ranger:
I can also appreciate a LEGO recreation of the British Royal Family:
But if I were a kid, I would absolutely lose my mind in this place. I was shocked I didn’t hear a single temper-tantrum or crying child because there was just too much good stuff in this place. It had something for everybody, and if you don’t get at least something, then it would be a missed opportunity (I picked up some LEGO minifigs and a die-cast double-decker bus).
From there, we hit a few more shops, Eric retired back to the hotel to grab some shut-eye, and Paul and I walked along the London streets spotting cool stuff like this ice skating rink:
And enjoying the rest of the scenery as we walked along the Thames. London is a beautiful city, and it’s nice to fantasize about living there one day.
We then joined up with our peers and the publicists for some pub trivia. It’s important to know that I take bar trivia far too seriously. I play Team Trivia in Atlanta and it has order, slowly increasing difficulty, and even elements of strategy. It’s a good way to spend a few hours.
At The Red Lion pub, our “quizmaster” also took trivia very seriously, but in a way that was slightly less enjoyable. We split up into groups and were handed a list of lyrics and asked to identify the artist and song (one point for each), and struck out on most of them. From there, we had four rounds with twelve questions each, and some questions had multi-part answers (the easiest one for our table of nerds was “Name the members of the Fellowship of the Ring”). Some of the questions were fair, but there were some you would only know if you had heard the trivia question in the past. The most glaring example was this one:
What year includes all of the Roman numerals? (The answer is “1441”)
If you need an indication of how competitive I can be, you should know that the prize for winning was an iPad Mini, and I didn’t care about the prize. I just wanted to win, because as we all know, the person who wins a game of trivia is clearly the smartest person in the room. This allows me to be a poor winner instead of a sore loser (there’s a reason I tend to play cooperative games rather than competitive ones). Unfortunately, I was two points shy of competing in the final round, and proceeded to sulk the rest of the night. I repeat: do not play games against me.
The following morning was a free day. Yes, a free day, which is just crazy and fantastic. Nothing The World’s End-related; just the full day to explore London. Vespe and I are huge Beatles fans and wanted to make the trip to Abbey Road. We picked up day-passes for the Underground, and since Sherlock Holmes’ home of 221b Baker Street was on the way, we decided to make a brief stop:
Oddly enough, there was a Beatles store right next door:
My need for souvenirs sated, we then proceeded to Abbey Road, which is still an active roadway. It baffles me why they haven’t closed it off. It must be the absolute worst road for drivers during the daytime because they know idiot tourists like me are going to clog it up as we imitate the famous album cover. The photo ops are somewhat facilitated by photographers in bright yellow vests who will take your picture professionally for 10£ or will use your iPhone and you can donate at your discretion (I paid 5£). I decided to go full McCartney for my photo even though it was too damn cold to be shoeless:
Priceless photo taken, Vespe and I then made our way to one of my favorite places in the world, the British Museum, which is a sacred place for history nerds.
I could spend hours just in a single room and it never feels like there’s enough time. We decided to hit a few specific locations including Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, and Japan. We also got to hold a 350,000-year-old rock:
After spending a few hours at the museum, my feet were aching and we decided it was time to head back to the hotel. Later that night, we had another excellent meal and then finished off with a round of fiery shots:
Then I flew home the following morning.
I know it sounds like I’m bragging about my trip, but I promised to write about it, and I hope you found this article entertaining rather than sickening. If it’s any consolation, I watched Home for the Holidays and Taken 2 on the flight back, and they were both pretty bad.
And if you’re still upset, here’s me injuring myself again: