London

We are definitely winding down.  Our clothes are gross.  I am spent and I really do not have the energy to see anything anymore…but we still did.

Notting
Yesterday we began in Notting Hill for breakfast at a wonderful place called Ottolenghi.  We sort of missed breakfast but were lucky to get a few granolas and muffins.  We were honestly happy just to stare at the food coming out of the kitchen for lunch.  The restaurant is like a small eatery where you can also take away.  Reminded me of a variety of places we have been to over the years where the chef (2 partners here) really have created their vision of a neighborhood kitchen.  You can eat there, in the back, in a very white room with flowers.  I felt like I was at the beach.  Everything looked so delicious that we picked up the cookbook which I am excited to try.  One of the owners is a Jew from Israeli, the other is a Palestinian who grew up in Jerusalem.  Both gay.  Came to London, met each other and created there restaurant/store.  They even make jams and ketchups to go with their names on it.  Really was a huge winner.  If I lived in Notting Hill, I’d probably go there daily. 

We jumped on the Metro and found our way over to Buckingham Palace.  Our timing was perfect.  WeGuards
got there and the guards were changing.   You can’t help but be a little awed by the procession that takes place every day.  You know when the Queen is home because the flag is out.  She was around yesterday which we got a kick out of and waved to the palace. 

We went over to Trafalgar Square to see one of my favorite museums in London, the National Portrait Gallery.  Seeing portraits from Shakespeare to Queen Victoria to David Beckham to Beatrix Potter is pretty cool.  Paintings to charcoals to photographs. 

After, the girls and I went to Dover Street Market.  A fantastic concept store.   I believe it was started by Commes Des Garcon.  6 floors, all different.  Men and womens on each floor.  Every floor told a story.  Brilliant stuff and vendors we have never seen before which is always a plus.  Unfortunately, the dollar vs the pound is like sticking a dagger through your heart.  As Luxe City Guides say ( the travel guide we can not live without ) don’t come to London if you are on a budget.

Fred had to get on a conference call so he missed our next event.  We met up with Josh and walked around Fortnum & Mason.  Fortnum and Mason opened in 1707.  They just renovated the food halls.  Very stuffy old time place.  This might have been there first renovation since 1707…only kidding.

Apsleys
We then walked over to the Lanesborough Hotel.  I chose it because it was awarded the best afternoon tea of 2008.  You have to do tea at least once in London.  The room is beautiful.  The food was okay and the teas were fantastic.  It is a very leisurely proper event.  By the time we were finished, we had some time to kill, so we walked over to Harrods

Harrods is an experience in itself.  The food hallsHarrods
are over the top.  You sort of feel like you are at Willy Wonka’s factory with a larger variety of cuisines besides chocolate.  A sushi bar, an ice cream bar, a pizza bar, a deli, a candy area, vegetables, meats, fish…it is endless.  Walking through the first floor is plenty.  There are so many people on that one floor it made me wonder how many people are in the store at a time.  Culturally it is interesting too.  Lots of women completely covered in black with the scarf covering their heads carrying Gucci bags.  Although NYC is a myriad of faces and people of different cultures, London takes that to another level. 

We were running late so we jumped in a taxi.  Although the cost is a killer, the taxis are fantastic here. National

The drivers have to spend a year in training before they get to drive.  They need to know every street.  This city is not a grid system.  There are tons of tiny streets.  We were seeing Never So Good at the National Theater.  The theater is beautiful.  Many plays go on there are the same time.  Lots of little restaurants.  A green area to sit in while waiting for theater to begin. The area around it is sort of gritty but you can see the changes happening.  The play which is about the life of Harold Macmillan, the Prime Minister of England after Churchill (although there was one before that) from 1957-1963.  Jeremy Irons, who played Macmillan, was spectacular.  The stage and scenery were clever.  A really well done production but almost 3 hours.  A killer.  Alas.

At this point it was 11pm and nothing was open for food so we went home and called it a day. 

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