A Travellerspoint blog

Our last day

but we'll be back!

camera battery died this morning so no photos until we get home and download them of my iPhone.
We tried to fit in a bunch of stuff today and since it's getting late and we have to be off to Heathrow early in the morning I'll just rattle off a list of madness. More to come, with time and clarity.

-Dropped a bunch of our clothes at Oxfam on Drury Lane (no muffin man sightings, darn it),
-then breakfast in the Crypt; hot chocolate and pastry.
-tickets to theater at the discount booth in Leicester Square (seats to The Inspector Calls. Ask Karl.)
-Tube to Borough for a wonderful and delicious stroll through The Borough Market. THIS IS A MUST when you are in London!!!
All kinds of high end fresh food and goods: seafood of all kinds, meat of all kinds, cheeses, bread, baked goods, spices, hard ciders and beers, wine, fruit and veggies, flowers, olives, beautiful copper cookware, soap.

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-Thames Walkway to the Tate Modern. Karl's challenge was to get through three floors of the museum in record time, which we did. Not going to publish how long we spent there.

-Walked across Millenium Bridge.
-while waiting at the intersection in front of St. Paul's, a motorcade sped by.
-WE SAW THE QUEEN.
-I kid you not.
-she and Prince Philip in a Rolls roll by. Karl eyeballs the ol' girl while I fumble with the iPhone (first generation phone, not speedy enough)(dang it all).

-Bus to Oxford Street (terrible road work near Piccadilly Circus, bus takes for-eh-ver)
-off at Selfridges for GUERILLA ICE CREAM! it's a new campaign for their whiz-bang inventive flavors like licorice (which is delicious!) and two kinds of Obamarama (choice between milk chocolate or white house white chocolate), cinnamon, rose water (ack!), etc. The tag line in the parlor is God Save the Cream. Cute, right?
Oh, did we mention, WE SAW THE QUEEN?!

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-to Marks and Spencer then Sainsburys for McVities and Cadbury to bring home.

Back to flat, off to dinner, off to theater.
Home and packing.

It's been all kinds of wonderful and we're already looking forward to coming back.

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in the meantime....CAN'T WAIT TO SEE CODY!

Posted by Kramertak 14:18 Comments (0)

Highgate in the sun!

step up and get your Vitamin D

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Busy, very sunny day!
We had reservations to tour the western section of Highgate cemetery in the afternoon to have a look at how Victorian England memorialised their dead.
To give Karl's feet a rest, he stayed in in the morning while I went over to the Cafe in the Crypt to work on a brass rubbing. After an hour and a half and the beginnings of carpal tunnel (an exaggeration, but this activity is best done without time restraints), I rolled up Sir Robert The Bruce and fetched Karl from the flat. We tubed up to Archway and hiked up the hill and through the park to Highgate Cemetery.
We had a little time before the tour, so we ducked into the East Cemetery.
The tours are a worthwhile activity (both and east and west sections have scheduled tours. You must book in advance for the west cemetery). The west cemetery is very atmospheric, overgrown and lush. It would have been a real experience in the gloom and rain, but we're not complaining.

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We're back in the flat now, drinking apple and pear cider.
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After a delightful high tea at High Tea of Highgate, and looking longingly at the real estate offerings in that town (it's just gorgeous), we hopped a double decker bus back into central London.

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We're back in the flat now, contemplating our last day in London, and drinking hard cider, both apple and pear. We have no plans for Friday. Looking forward to how it's going to unfold.

Posted by Kramertak 12:25 Comments (0)

Hump day

a nostalgic stroll through the neighborhoods

A nice thing about getting up and out a little ahead of the crowds is that the streets are pretty much ours. And we're not talking the crack of dawn. Karl and I headed toward Neal's Yard around 11:00 and we had the sidewalks pretty much to ourselves. Such a difference.

When we were students, I remember many an afternoon at Neal's Yard, grabbing a few rolls, a hunk of cheese and maybe some soup. In some ways, Neal's Yard was ahead of the global curve when it came to fresh organic whole grain no frills down home food. It's still good and wholesome. The surrounding area has gotten a facelift, but the immediate Yard area is still funky.

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I wanted to pick up some tea and check out the food halls at Fortnum and Mason, so we walked through Covent Garden, Leicester Square to Piccadilly Circus. We stopped at Punch and Judy for a full English Breakfast which was amazing. They even offered a vegetarian version for Karl!

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F&M is fun to wander around, so very British. Always hard not to buy more than we need in the face of all this wonderful stuff.

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We walked down Piccadilly past the Hard Rock Cafe and into Hyde Park. Wow, does this bring back memories. If it hadn't been drizzling, Karl says we would have rented a boat and rowed around the Serpentine. We checked out the memorial to Lady Di, and made our way up Kensington Garden toward our old study program abode, the Darwin Lodge on Westbourne Grove. Sadly, our local pub is now a wine bar, and the area's a little spiffier than when we remember. Spring Street, Praed Street and London Street coming off Sussex Gardens toward Paddington were more familiar; the Indian eateries, fish and chip shops, souvenier stores,bureau de change windows, and pubs. The area is still a mashup of clashing cultures and inexpensive B&B's and feels like home.

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We are off to the Old Vic tonight to see Inherit The Wind. Kevin Spacey will be onstage and I'll have to decide if I'm going to stalk him at the stage door after the performance...

Posted by Kramertak 09:33 Comments (0)

A Day At The Museums

Things The Kids Never Would Have Tolerated

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We woke again this morning to light rain. We struck out on the tube to Pimlico and walked up to the Tate Gallery to see the Turner exhibition. We spent the morning and into the early afternoon seeing the exhibition and the standard Tate gallery displays. The Turner exhibition was a special exhibition that followed Turner's development as an artist. The exhibition juxtaposed Turner's work over time with some of the paintings of other masters, including Rembrandt, that historians have shown Turner consulted and studied. These comparisons revealed some very clear influences and some very interesting choices that Turner made in his paintings to reject or embrace certain stylistic and thematic approaches of other so-called masters of the day. The_Tate_Britian.jpg

After seeing the special Turner exhibit, we went through the Tate's regular galleries only to be disappointed that several of the important pieces are on loan. Most of the Blake and Bacon pieces were taken down and packed for shipment this past weekend. One of Mary's favorite paintings, the Lady of Shallot, was also on loan to a museum in Montreal. However, most of our favorite Millais and Sargent (along with Turner) were on display. We tried to have lunch at the Tate, but once again, Mary was foiled by being too late to have the meat of the day (pork sandwich!), which apparently in London always sells out by noon. (OK, we were there at about 1 pm....). We caught the 24 bus up to Tottenham Court Road and walked over to the British Museum hungry. Luckily on the way we bumped into a little Turkish restaurant called Tas, where we had a great vegetarian lunch.

We spent the rest of the day at the British Museum. We spend most of our time in the ancient Mesopotamia and Roman sections. (We did stop to gawk at the Rosetta Stone and some mummies.) Too bad Siena wasn't around to tell us all the important stuff about Rome. The Romans in Britian section was especially interesting.
The British Museum allows photos so here are some in no particular order.
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After being run out of the museum at closing time, we headed back to the flat to rest a bit before heading out for some quick take-out dinner. On advice from the kids we hit "Wok to Walk," a cheap but very good fast-food eatery that they found when in Amsterdam. Very good. Very cheap. We're tucking in for the evening and will be out roaming again tomorrow. No plans yet, other than seeing "Inherit the Wind" at the Old Vic theatre tomorrow night.

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Posted by Kramertak 13:03 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Dead Poets, Great Art and As You Like It

rain

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Monday dawned grey and drizzly. London, as it should be.
There's a universal sloshing noise that accompanies rubber tires hitting water, but as we look down at our newly soaked shoes it's no big deal. Somehow, it's more romantic here.

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We are making the most of our transport passes, good on the Tube and the iconic double decker buses. Westminster Abbey was first on the list. We grabbed the free audiotour wands and made our way through the church that doubles as a huge indoor cemetery. We paid our respects to the royals and to the artists, writers, poets, actors and politicians and scientists and abbots whose bones are interred under stone. The cloisters and Chapter House are especially glorious. There is restorative work going on and it makes us want to grab solvent and a cloth and have a go at it, help move things along. The floor of the main pulpit is a mosaic called the Cosmati Pavement, made by Italian artisans and said to contain clues to the end of the world. It's been under carpeting for some time, but it's being spit shined now. Truly amazing.
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After a quick lunch at the Crypt under St. Martin's, I give some thought to making a brass rubbing, but we heed the call of The National Gallery instead. Most of these great museums are free, which still boggles the mind. Karl and I have an agenda here, we know exactly which paintings we have come to see. For those of you reading from the LU London Study Program (woot!), and remember our professor of art history, Malcolm (Red Shoes) Warner; he is now the head portrait curator of the National Gallery! After visiting Holborn's Marriage A La Mode series, the Impressionists, the Italian galleries and the Turners, Karl and I toy with the idea of looking Prof Warner up. We met in his class, afterall.

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We tube back to our flat, pick up our theater tickets for the night and head out again.
The Globe is filled tonight, a good thing since we need the bodies to generate heat. There are standing room only tickets for 'the yard', which we leave for the younger set. No way we can stand through an entire production. We have seats in the Stalls, and we purchase a cushion and back rest. Yep, we're older, but we're comfortable!
The production of As You Like It is flawless, fun and thoroughly enjoyable. The crowd is well behaved, no fruit throwing or heckling tonight. And the clouds cleared up nicely. It's a joy to look up at the sky while sitting in the Globe Theater, listening to Shakespeare's words and the murmuring of the audience.
Life is good.
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Posted by Kramertak 02:03 Comments (0)

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