Thursday, February 02, 2012

Across the Pond, 3 Days in London

Life is pretty short and my travel list is pretty long, so I just couldn't pass up the chance to tag-along on one of Tobin's work trips across the pond.  Having just come back from a holiday vacation, I couldn't be too indulgent and spend the much required week or more in the city, but we covered as much ground as possible in the two and a half days I was there.  You absolutely cannot get bored in this city with quaint shops and pubs around every corner and an outdoor market for everyday of the week.

We arrived on a Saturday around noon and by the time the cab fought traffic into the city, the afternoon was slipping away.  We rushed over to the Borough Market, bordering on the south side of the Thames. If you like food, you will love this food-lovers' paradise.  Stalls prepared everything from paella to duck sandwiches washed down with a to-go mulled wine.  I would have no problems spending my entire paycheck on the gourmet sausages, local oysters, and fresh baked bread.  I have read and heard about the Indian influences on the food and dining scene in London, however, I was surprised to see so many Spanish purveyors selling cheese, chorizo, olives and the like.  No matter what you are craving, you will find something you love here.


Borough Market




for the adventurous, perhaps some Haggis?  After all, it's award-winning

 





Duck Sandwich & Mulled Wine, how could I resist?



One of several lovely bridges connecting the north and south sides of the Thames
 While still on the south side of town, check out the many bridges as well as the Tate Modern museum and a stop at the OXO restaurant and bar for a cocktail and bite with a view of the city from across the river.
Not the greatest pic, but view from the lounge at OXO


Our hotel was situated in Leicester Square which reminded me of Times Square with the bright lights, huge flagship tourist stores (our lobby had a two story M&M shop!?), and Broadway theater marquees.  Connecting Leicester Square with the upper-scale Soho neighborhood is China Town, glowing in lantern-strewn streets lined with crowded dining rooms.


Every major city must have a China Town.  Our hotel, in the background, lit up in blue.






Day two had another market itinerary, up north in the Spitafields neighborhood.  This area has several different markets within about a mile radius area, comprising of vintage clothing and home accessories, locally made jewelry and clothing as well as an international indoor food court with portable burners cooking everything from Sri Lankan and Thai dishes.  Too early for lunch?  Grab an Irish Coffee from the small bar set up inside.

Spitafields



Indoors, prepared food awaits.






Outdoors, sweets and juices





Beer

I had not had a proper beer until I had one in London.  These guys (and gals) know how to craft and pour an amazing pint.  These beers are nothing fancy, just from a tap in a regular old pub.  But there is something about the frothy head and the rings around your half-empty pint glass that make even a light lager seem luxurious.




before

after




Old London Charm

What you would expect to see in London, you do.  From the double decker busses, red phone booths, clock towers and Union Jack Mini Coopers, you will have plenty of opportunities for touristy photos.


Yes, there really are double decker busses, and they are not used for city tours












Shopping Districts-  Kensington, Soho and Carnaby

While shopping was not on my list of to-dos with the pound still not within my price range, it was still worth the visit to see the old glamour of Harrods, the quaint brick lanes of Carnaby and the gorgeous white buildings curving along the streets of Soho. 

Town houses in Kensington

Harrods windows








Glimmering night lights in the Soho area

3 comments:

Mari said...

What s spanking time! Yea....keep on traveling Flea, I experience your travels, if only mentally.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Is that a taffy sausage in one of the photos?

Flea said...

The pink sausage looking stuff is just taffy-ish candy. No sausage there, but plenty of other places!