Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rainy London

Well, with Oxford behind us, we moved on to London. When we first arrive in a city, we tend not to have an agenda, so we wander. In London, the only initial plan we had was to have lunch in Borough Market after checking in to our room. This had been a favorite of Kelli's when she studied here, so I had heard about it for the last four years. When we finally got there, I was floored by it. The market is situated under a network of Railroad tracks, which in the US would sound like a bad thing, but here it was just good use of space- the platforms provided cover from the rain, and the pillars and walls provided plenty of space for the different shops. The market was made up ofnmore shops than one could count, with every kind of food and drink you could imagine. I had a kangaroo burger (one of the best things I ever ate), and Kelli hunted down her favorite sandwich in the world, Hobb's roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sandwich on a baguette- she was in heaven.
After that, we explored South Bank a bit, checked out Tower Bridge, and eventually crossed the Thames andbwent to St. Paul's Cathedral and stayed for the lovely Evensong service, sung by a boys' and men's choir. It was absolutely beautiful.
The next day began by taking the tube to Stratford to see he Olympic Park. The Olympics begin in London in two weeks, so we were seeing hints of it all over the city, but the largest of the venues, which you'll all see in the Opening Ceremonies, is at Stratford. We walked around for a while in the Westfield Mall, a huge, ultramodern mall built for the international crowds that are coming. After Stratford, we returned to Borough, but the market was gone so we enjoyed a delightful Italian lunch from a vendor nearby. We then toured the Southwark Cathedral, the oldest place of Christian worship in London. I paid £2 for a photography permit, so I have some lovely photos to share with you at a later date.
That evening we went to The Globe (as in Shakespeare's theatre) to see Henry V, where we paid the lowest amount, to be "Groundlings" and thankfully had the wherewithall to stand where we could lean on the rails and we had some cover when it started pouring. Most "Groundlings" did not. The play was long, and our legs were exhausted, but the experience was worth it.
By Monday, Kelli was developing some pretty bad blisters on her feet (apparently a pedicure before traveling Europe mostly on foot is a bad thing) but she stuck it out through an amazing tour of Westminster Abbey (no photos) and the outside of Buckingham Palace. Finally our feet and legs saw rest that evening, as we'd bought theatre tickets to see "Les Miserables" which I loved .
For our last day in London, we decided to wander the huge parks- Regent Park and Kensington Gardens. The highlights were meeting a woman with five cocker spaniels in a park (we chatted with her and played with the dogs for a while, it was nice to get our cocker spaniel fix, as we dearly miss our Cooper), seeing the flat Kelli stayed in (and running into some Cal Poly Study Abroad students in the tube station), and exploring Queen Mary's Gardens. Unfortunately, our nice day in the park wasn't quite what I had expected as it was poring rain most of the day, but hey, that's London.
All in all, London was a wonderful, albeit exhausting place to visit, and we will be back!

1 comment:

ahf said...

I can't believe you ate kangaroo!!

I'm so glad you got to experience some of Kelli's favorite spots. The even song sounds lovely, I'd love to hear that in person.

I was hoping you'd see some signs of the upcoming Olympics. So, you were "Groundlings" during the play. That required some stamina! I'm so sorry to hear about Kelli's blisters! Her pedicure girl really worked on making her feet baby soft smooth - I guess that didn't work. Kelli, I hope your feet feel better soon - different shoes maybe?
I'm glad you loved "Les Miserables." Did you hear there is a movie version, called "Les Mis" coming out, starring Hugh Jackman?

I'm glad you got a cocker spaniel fix! What fun! Thanks for the update!