I have been lucky enough to have had 2 visitors this month! First my Dad and then my very oldest Fort Collins friend Elin came to visit this past week. Amazing how many more people will come visit when you are in the middle of the world, instead of the edge.
(I guess 6 hours by plane sounds like a much better deal than 24 hours. I still can't get over how close to the USA we are here).
I took a couple days of work, and had a 4-day weekend touring the London sites with Elin. I forgot how much work it is to be a tourist and walk about for 8 hours a day- even when it is the city I live in, making the journey pretty quick and painless. We kept up a busy schedule, which left us slightly destroyed but happy by the end of it.
I picked up Elin bright and early from Heathrow, then we made our way back to my house, relaxed with some delicious Nutella-toast for breakfast, then hit up Camden markets. I managed to convince Elin to go to just the best coffee house in London- which incidentally serves the most luxurious, thick, delicious hot chocolate. The coffee house is absolutely beautiful- I think I have actually raved about it on this blog before. But it was designed by an Iranian interior designer who owns and runs the place. There is soft Billie Holiday music playing, and the decor looks like you could step outside and be in a Moroccan bazaar. A perfect start to our day market-hopping in Camden, enjoying creppes and pita with humous.
To keep up the busy day, we then headed to St Pancras station, bought Elin's Eurostar ticket, and decided to hit up the British Museum before it closed. We just managed to squeeze in some Egyptian statues, Assyrian gateways, and Sikh Battle Headdresses before we were kicked out. Then, not to be dissuaded from doing everything ever on the first day, we then stopped for dinner at a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant near my house. And was it ever good to sit down, kick our feet back, and enjoy some amazing curry.
Keeping with the market theme, on Friday we went down to the famous Portobello Market in Notting Hill (yes, where the movie with Hugh Grant was filmed. People still seem obsessed.). Since it was Friday it was gloriously empty and free of crowds- which meant we got to buy our cupcakes in relative peace! We went to Hummingbird Bakery which is famous in its own right for cupcakes, cake, and more cupcakes. With a few sparkles and pink ribbon thrown in for good measure of course. We then cruised from the market randomly around Notting Hill, enjoying the blossoms, cute churches, and huge movie-star houses. We ended up in Kensington gardens, and had a quick look at Kensington Palace which is under refurbishment until 2012 - maybe they are hoping people will stop there in between watching long jumpers, volleyball teams, and track and field at the Olympics.
|Kensington Gardens- golden tribute to King/Prince/Regent Albert|
Friday night ended with delicious pear cider at one of the pubs just down the Tube line from my house- with lots of nice relaxing sitting to top off the day!
After a wee sleep in, we hit the ground running, heading to the Victoria and Albert Museum of art and design (yes the same Albert who has an enormous golden pinnacle devoted to him in the picture above).
While there, we ended up buying some bottled water just so we could sit in the museum's opulent tea room:
on top of this, we saw a lot of diamonds, opals, gold, silver etc etc in the jewelry section, plus some stations, cool architecture and amazing lamps. I now have yet another museum I must return to- so many rooms left unseen! Apparently the V&A has more than 1,000,000 art and design objects on display - that might take a few days, no?
we then went to the Borough markets for lunch, which is this enormous busy-crazy-packed food market, with everything you could wish for on sale...but sadly no way to get there as it is nearly a solid wall of people on the weekend. Luckily we were able to land some delicious savoury pies (pork and apple, chicken and mushroom respectively), and restored some vital energy. Then it was onwards to walk down the Thames, and enjoy the random splotches of sunlight that appeared from time to time (did I ever mention how much I appreciate the sun now that I live in a grey place?).
these pictures are still not uploaded, so you just may have to wait....