London, continued

Sunday, May 22, 2016

After a pretty epic hiatus, it is long time to get back to blogging about our great European vacation last summer. Before I have forgotten all of the details and stories that surround the pretty pictures (exhibit A above where you can hardly see the building for all the flowers).  I am picking up where I left off before, with day four of our trip. To go back and see any of the previous days' posts click here, here, and here.

Day four started out with a spectacular breakfast with an equally spectacular view at a place called Duck and Waffle. The restaurant sits 40 floors high, at the very top of the Heron Tower, in the financial district. It was a pretty good hike from our hotel over by Buckingham but totally worth it. I got the duck and waffle (how do you not when it is the name of the restaurant) and Andrew got the "full elvis," a waffle topped with peanut butter, jelly, banana brûlée, and chantilly cream. It was all so so good. Definitely one of the culinary highlights of the whole trip. After a little bargaining we got moved to a table by a window and sat literally right next to this view.

After breakfast we clearly needed to walk some more and burn calories so we walked back towards the hotel and past Buckingham palace where we were able to catch the changing of the guard. So cool to watch all the pomp and circumstance. Probably the most bizarre thing was that it just so happened to be the same day that James Horner, the composer of Titanic among other things, died in a plane crash. As a tribute the military band played "My Heart Will Go On" in front of the palace gates. Strange, but sweet.

We visited the National Gallery for just a couple minutes. Intended to spend longer, but another one of the stranger parts of this trip was that it happened to coincide with some serious political labor issues. In addition to being caught in the middle of an active protest many of the labor union workers were refusing to work...which meant many of the museums were operating with a skeleton crew and had major portions of the museums closed to visitors. There were signs on closed doors saying this part of the museum is closed due to the labor strike.

In the afternoon we took the tube out to Notting Hill to stroll around outside the hustle and bustle of the city and the typical touristy things. We went first to visit Churchill Arms, a pub whose exterior is covered in colorful flowers. That is where the picture at the top of the post was taken. The pub was a regular watering hole for Winston Churchill's grandparents back in the 1800s, hence the name. The inside is decked out in all kinds of Churchill memorabilia. The Pub serves an interesting fare of Thai food. We shared some pad thai, spring rolls, and a couple drinks.  Not all what you would expect from a Pub but it was really quite good. It was a fun place to sit, people watch, and listen to the locals around us chat.

We meandered the streets of Notting Hill for a while, finding all the little sites from the Notting Hill movie and grabbed some cookies to eat and take home from Biscuiteer. Then we headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for our evening.

This night we had dinner reservations at Cafe Des Amis, a french brasserie down in the theatre district. It was good food and even more importantly it was convenient to St. Martin's Theatre where we were headed next to see Mousetrap.

And that wraps up day four of our great European adventure. We have one more day in our newly beloved London before we hit the train and head towards Paris.

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