LONDON REDUX


There is never enough time to see and do everything you can and want to do in London.  It’s just too big, there is just too much, it’s hard to even think where to begin – again.

I had 4 days totally free from the time I finished up my housesit in Eastbourne until I flew to the Algarve.  What to do?  Where to go?  Then my good friend Jan, a fellow member of International Womans Club of Chicago, presently a London resident and who’s husband had conveniently flown back to the States for business that week said why don’t you stay with me?  You never have to ask me twice!

Jan and Mike live off a tiny alley in the shadow of St. Paul’s.  With 3 tube lines and 3 choices of bridges crossing the Thames within walking distance, it’s a perfect location.

So what hadn’t I seen or done the when I was in London in August that I really wanted to do this time?  Covent Garden – yes!  The Victoria & Albert Museum – yes! Attend a meeting of the American Woman’s Club of London – yes!  Have breakfast at the top of The Shard – yes!  Have lunch and snoop shop at Harvey Nichols – yes! Spend hours wandering, tasting and enjoying one of the fabulous markets (Borough Market!) – yes!  Spend time just talking and getting to know Jan better – yes!  And as a bonus – tickets to see Sir Kenneth Branagh (drool) in his latest production with his brand new theater company – YES!

What better to share with you my four days in London than with  pictures – captions included!

Covent Garden  – Lunch 1st day
Covent Garden Highlander
Light Art in entrance to V&A
Just a tiny bit of the fashion exhibit at the V&A
Foor-to-ceiling pyramid made of tiny
ceramic buildings which are actually in London
Entrance V&A

My first full day, I attended the monthly meeting of the American Womans Club of London.  This group was my ‘life saver’ when I moved to Brussels as a new corporate wife in 1972. After a very entertaining program entitled Blood, Guts and Gore – More True Stories of Murder in Victorian England, I joined the ladies for lunch at the top of Harvey Nichols, my favorite high-end department store restaurant with a fabulous view.  Of course, I spent some time just wandering through the store, touching and ‘petting’ the most extravagant and high-priced fashions and shoes you could ever want to purchase – if you are really, really rich!

Jan met me after lunch and we headed off to the Victoria and Albert for the afternoon.  The V&A has two fantastic ongoing exhibits –  The Fabric of India and Shoes: Pleasure and Pain. We took in the India exhibit that afternoon. India’s manufacture of fabric, from the very earliest times, to present day, envelopes the history of this massive country.   I returned the next morning to giggle and be amazed at a collection of shoes, some a thousand years old. Tiny brocade Japanese Golden Lily shoes to today’s Manolo’s and Louboutins!

I rushed out of the V&A and caught the Circle Line to meet Jan in Leister Square for lunch before the matinee performance at The Garrick of Harlequinade/All On Her Own featuring the outstanding cast of the newly assembled Kenneth Branagh Theater Company, featuring Zoe Wannamaker.

Sir Kenneth Branagh
My view from the Stalls

My ‘thank you’ to Jan for allowing me enjoy her company and the amenities of her lovely apartment was breakfast at the top of The Shard, London’s tallest building, which certainly makes a statement on the city’s landscape.

The Shard at sunset
Getting ready to walk inside – Oh My
The view from our table
Just one of the 360º city views
From the Shard, we walked to the Borough Market – one of the oldest continuing and most amazing and comprehensive markets I’ve ever enjoyed! 

It’s located under the London Bridge Station train tracks.  I think the photos say it all – I never wanted to leave and will most certainly return.

 Of course, we bought nibbles to have for snacks. I could have filled an entire kitchen with the delicious edibles which were everywhere you looked.

As you can see it’s a very popular place and note the date it was established  – 1756.  The history that surrounds you everywhere you go is one of my very favorite things about spending time in Europe.

100’s of different Mushrooms!!
Colorful Tomatoes
A plethora of seafood choices
Ah, Cheese!

In the afternoon, we had tea and visited with Abha, with another IWA member who was spending time in London.  That evening I was jealous with envy when Jan went off to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet while I stayed in (tried to get a ticket, sold out months in advance!) and packed.   I had a 6:30 a.m. taxi to Liverpool Station and my train to Stansted Airport where I would fly to Faro, Portugal and the next leg of my ongoing adventure.

Oh, but I will miss you London!

Until next time…….

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