London Calling

Our days in London have been so full of sight-seeing and recovering from sight-seeing that we missed any real-time blogging of our days. Here is my attempt to document our days…

Friday 17-May
We slept quite late… And by “we” I mean “I” slept super late. Jesse woke up around 8:30, but when I didn’t get up as well, he went back to sleep. Once we were both up, we had a very late breakfast of a Scottish “buttery,” which is exactly as its name describes. Very buttery, which means very delicious! Our host, Duncan, is from Scotland and described this pastry to us as like a croissant that has been pounded into a flat circle. It was flaky like a croissant, but with a delicious, chewy, buttery texture to it. I envision attempting to make these in the future, though I have been warned that they are time consuming and somewhat difficult. Challenge accepted!

We finally made it out of the flat in the afternoon and took a bus to Trafalgar Square (which is pronounced Tra-FALL-ger, btw). After we arrived, we made our way down to Buckingham Palace and decided we would try to make it back to see the changing of the guard. We took the underground to the O2 arena to meet up with Duncan and a friend of his for a concert. While we waited, we grabbed some delicious burgers and monkey nuts (peanuts) at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Duncan and friend met us there and we all wandered around until we found the right entrance for the Asian Dub Foundation show. We paid too much for beer (hey, just like in the States!) and stuck around while a DJ played a bunch of songs, then for the first several songs by ADF. After that we took the overground for awhile and walked along the waterfront of the Thames (pronounced “tems”). We saw a green laser line as we walked, which Duncan said was from the Greenwich Prime Meridian. We were so close that we decided to go see it. We got stuck inside the former naval college and so decided that a beer was in order instead. We made it by last call, so enjoyed a tasty beer then made our way back to the flat. Or goal for the next day was to get up and out early to enjoy more of the day. We ended up staying up to chat with Duncan until 2am!

Saturday 18-May
We decided that today would be the day to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. It was to start at 11:30, but we needed to make it there early enough to get a good spot for the pomp and circumstance. We arrived just before 11 to some very crowded streets. The police were there making sure people didn’t sit on railings or try to take over the roads where cars traveled. 20130523-103110.jpgWe stayed for just over an hour, watching and waiting for the few minutes of activity that was spread out over that time. 20130523-103222.jpgWe decided that we could find something more interesting to do, so took a walk through St. James’s park, then through the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. This was the free part of the Abbey, which I am all about! The cloisters were beautiful and held many years of history within them.

We decided the next stop would be Camden Market, which reminded me of a giant version of Seattle’s Pike Place Market combined with the alternative-ness of the University District. Food was plentiful and cheap, with a very filling meal costing only £5 a person! 20130523-104202.jpgWe sat on old scooters attached to tables as we ate our meals, then wandered around the many stalls, taking in the sights and smells.20130523-103821.jpg I kept running across the word “rocket” on some food stalls, so I had to ask what it was. The vendor I spoke with asked if I was American, then handed me a little salad leaf and said it was the same as arugula! Crazy Brits…

We left Camden Market to peruse Regent Street where many high dollar shops reside. We stopped in to visit the Apple store, Hamleys toy store, the Ferari store and grabbed a coffee from Starbucks. After that we decided to make our way over to the Tate Modern via one of the clipper ships that traveled along the Thames. Once we boarded, we decided to stay on until the end of the line to enjoy the boat ride. We caught some pretty awesome views 20130523-104745.jpg and had a great time soaking in the sights and the cloudy, overcast skies. 20130523-104911.jpg

We ended up disembarking at Greenwich, then trekking up to the Royal Observatory to see the Prime Meridian and take in some pretty breathtaking sights of the city of London.20130523-105119.jpg London is HUGE! 20130523-105216.jpg After that, we wandered around the tiny streets until we came upon a traditional English Pub next to a restaurant called “The Spread Eagle”. I enjoyed a steak and ale pie while Jesse devoured his bangers and mash. This was also our first real Bitters in London!

Fully sated from our delicious meal, we made our way back to Denmark Hill (the borough where we stayed) to meet Duncan at the grocer to pick up some food and items to make breakfast in the morning.

To be continued…

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