London Daze


Flowers at Borough Market



On the backend of the business trip to the UK, I stayed with Michele and Andrew in their Shepherd’s Bush Flat. On Friday I took a cab from Regent’s Park with a cabbie who seemed a bit daft – he attempted to impress upon me his knowledge of the Great Lakes’ names using the acrostic HOMES and then proceeded to spell HOMES incorrectly. He couldn’t quite pinpoint the exact street that my sister lives on, asked for directions from a chap in the street and even after that had to pull out a street map. Needless to say, I verified I was at the correct flat before paying him. I love the trees that line the street where they live:


Since Andrew was flying in from Seattle that morning, I simply hung around the flat with Michele. In the early evening, we headed into London via the Tube to Bond Street where we walked through the shopping district, our destination being the Fortnum and Mason shop. Not simply a shop, but a tea / sweets / biscuits / jam emporium, I purchased my fill of goodies – several teas, stem ginger biscuits, biscuits with treacle, biscuits with currants, lemon biscuits, mango jam and chocolates. We walked through Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square’s Theatre district into Covent Garden. I learn that it is Burns night, in celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns, so tonight’s restaurant is a Scottish one specializing in seasonal seafood. Of course, the meal is wonderful. We end the evening after dinner, as Andrew is clearly starting to zone out due to jet lag.

Saturday morning arrives, a mild 45 degrees and sunny day. I feel blessed to be able to experience London with such ideal conditions. Michele and I take a quick jog around the local park before sitting down to a lovely breakfast of smoked trout, eggs, toast and tea. After a week of mass produced breakfast buffets, this is so very nice – Andrew and Michele are totally spoiling me.

More walking, food, museums and London sights are in store for me today – we take the Central line to the Bank Stop and make our way through the streets to the London Monument before crossing London Bridge. This Doric column erected among various modern high rises marks the origin of the great London fire in 1666. The Monument is currently closed for refurbishment, but one can normally climb to the top for a panoramic view of London. The walk across the London Bridge affords me these views of the Tower Bridge


Michele also had to take a picture of me taking a picture.


Along the lower Thames, we head into Borough Market, a huge bustling marketplace set at the foot of Southwark Cathedral. It is a feast for one’s stomach and eyes – beautifully displayed produce, meats, cheeses and flowers abound. We nosh on Andrew’s favorite chorizo sausage sandwiches and nibble on free cheese samples. Here is my favorite, stilton cheese – doesn’t that wheel of cheese make you hungry?


Time for a sisterly picture!



Next stop – the Tate Modern Museum, built since my last visit to London, it is a totally new experience for me. Its modern theme serves quite a contrast to Windsor Castle and Stonehenge that I visited on my first day of this trip.
The ground floor of the Tate Modern, the Turbine Hall, is a space commissioned to a new artist once a year. Until March of 2008, Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth, occupies the space. She created a large, flowing crack in the concrete floor, originating from an existing crack that starts at the West entrance ramp, seen here next to Andrew’s shoes.


It is fascinating to watch how people interact with something as simple as a crack in the floor.


I shot this picture from the a 1st floor window – a view of the Millennium Bridge from the Tate Modern across the Thames up to St Paul’s Cathedral, structurally joining the Modern with the Traditional.


We left the Tate Modern at dusk, just as a gorgeous fuchsia and magenta sunset was unfolding across the city. Michele, having the same shutterbug tendencies as me, allowed me to indulge in my desire to capture a decent picture from the cold and windy Millennium Bridge without a tripod. This required several shots, lens changes and general patience. Yeah, these would have been better with a tripod, but I am generally pleased with them.




This picture of the Tower Bridge came out better than I thought it would, given the vantage point and distance. This evening’s walk to St Paul’s was simply breathtaking.




We finished off our day and my visit to London at a local eatery in Shepherd’s Bush. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect end to the visit. I really would like to come back with the family – London has so much to see and do.

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