Ye Olde London-shire
Last week, David and I made our great escape to the Big Smoke, London. Now, London is not really a place you would go to if your looking for a bit of R&R, but amidst the running around, shopping, sightseeing and eating (oh, the eating!), that's exactly what we got. There is something to be said for just getting the hell out of your familiar surroundings.
Winter is always tough and it's always right around February that I start to crack. So it was great luck when in November, Dave got an email alerting him to the £9 fare deal. Yes people, for £18 round trip, we travelled 550 km to a place where multiculturalism, diverse cuisines and loads of things to do and see are around every corner.
I've been to London around 3 times prior, and this by far was the most kick ass time. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that Dave and I stayed with one of his best mates, Sir Hugh (above) and his lovely wife Gemma in a cool part of London, Whitechapel, right around the corner from the famous Brick Lane. I tell no lie - it was the first time I have nearly peed myself laughing in such a long time.
Over the course of the week, we were out everyday, even in the horrendous rain because London just does that to you. In the pic above, we went to the Tower of London. To be honest, I wasn't super excited about visiting this tourist attraction, but in turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Learning about the gory history and seeing the crown jewels were so interesting, but the best part was the guided tour with a Beefeater named Shady. This guy had a way with storytelling and he was entertaining as hell. The only downside was the admission price. Like most things in London, it was expensive - £17!
We indulged in a lot of hawt meals in the big city. We ate out nearly everyday - Indian, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Japanese - our food choices rarely failed us. I think my favourite meal was the curry mutton, rice and peas and fried plaintain from a stall at Spitallfields Market. We took our cheapo meal to the picnic table set up in the indoor market and loved that meal all the way to our lower intestines. We also had a fantastic lunch at a BBQ place I can't remember the name of that was right around the corner from the Tower of London . I had a sirloin steak burger well done and it was so damn tasty. It even had pickels! I don't remember the last time I had pickels on a burger here. Divinity between two buns. The pic above is the door handle for the restaurant - a gold coloured pig hoof!
Can't go to London without a little stroll thorugh Chinatown. We didn't eat here because it tends to be overpriced and rubbish, but it's nice just to see the lanterns. It's also a short walk to Soho, the gay district and the garment district. I got a bit of eye candy and some fab fabric. Can't beat that.
Bunnies! Outside the market where I bough my fab leather purse (handbag). What's more to say? I love random sculptures/installations in public spaces. London has this in spades.
This mosque has been nicknamed the disco mosque due to it's shiny minaret. Everytime I wanted to yell "Call to Prayer!!!" in one of those house song voices. It was pretty cool. I forget the history, but this current mosque was previously a church and a synagogue with the neighbourhood changing to reflect the house of religion. I thought this was pretty cool.
Dave and Hugh - brothers from different mothers. I have to hand it to these two. They set themselves the task of doing the Monopoly board pub crawl. This mean feat entails visiting a pub at each Monopoly place on the board. There are 26 places. They also had to have a drink in each pub. They decided to go for a half pint rather than the file point. They set out at 10am with grim determination in their eyes, and stumbled home some time after 11pm, rather glassy eyed and jovial and stinking of booze and fried chicken. But they were proud of accomplishing their goal. Hugh even took notes! What a pair! What a day!
At Hugh's behest, I had to visit a Jewish bagel shop because apparently they sell THE BEST BAGELS EVA! Now, being a Montreal gal, home of the best bagels in the world (and out of it), them were fighting words. So I moseyed on up to the very top of Brick Lane and bought a plain bagel with butter in it. Slighty sweet and super doughy, these bagels were aiight, but I was happy to have the opportunity to taste for myself. Now, I will continue on my self-imposed bagel fast.
Hubs and I also visited the very awesome (and free!) Natural History Museum. Dinosaur bones makes a very happy boy! We also had some nice soba (he had udon) at a kaiten sushi place and checked out the museum for a few hours.
All in all, we had a terrific time. We also hung out in Covent Garden (neither a covent nor a garden) and found some tacky shit, and saw friends and family we haven't seen in a while. *Sigh* Now, when's the next vacation???