And thanks to the city of London for their early reminder during our visit in late-May:
More Little Vid, this time in the UK. As always, you can follow her adventures here.
Ironically enough, we failed to snap any photos of our favorite rubber ducky in Bath. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I suppose we were still pretty jet-lagged at that point.
Little Vid and an elephant of the Motherland
We had a classic London afternoon today, starting with afternoon tea and ending with a show on the West End. Rick Steves recommends the National Dining Rooms in the Sainsbury wing of the National Gallery, but it was too cavernous and stuffy for our tastes. Instead we opted for the warmer and lower-key National Cafe, located by the Getty entrance.
We skipped right past the cream tea (tea with a scone and clotted cream) to the full afternoon tea, which also includes a set of sandwiches and pastries in a photogenic three-tiered display:
- Sandwiches: ham and mustard, smoked salmon with dill and pepper, egg and watercress, tomato and cheese
- Sweets (clockwise from top): chocolate raspberry gel, strawberry shortcake, lemon meringue pie
- Scone: with raisins, clotted cream
I have to say, the food was surprisingly good. The bread was fresh (though I still don’t understand why they always want to cut off the crust), and the scone was flaky and not too buttery. And while the pastries weren’t amazing, they were well above my expectations, and we polished them all off (including the raspberry gel that reminded me of Passover).
After lingering over our pots of tea, it was off to our post-tea destination, a complete counter-balance to our proper English formality, the puppets of Avenue Q.
Last night, while asking about dietary constraints, our B&B proprietor discovered that I had never experienced a “full English breakfast.” He promised to pull out all the stops this morning so that I could get a “proper” start to the day. The meal began innocuously enough:
Then he brought this out:
Surrounding the beans, clockwise from top: fried egg, black pudding, fried tomato, three slices bacon, fried mushrooms, two sausages
In front of me was more pork then I usually eat in a year, but in honor of my host I tried everything on the plate. It may have been my jet-lagged stomach, but I only made it halfway through the meats and did feel a little ill afterwards. Fortunately Jess and Jake (the proprietor’s two English hounds) were hungry and really enjoyed the remaining pork products. Conclusion: my first Full English was probably my last.
We landed in Heathrow this morning, and our groggy bodies somehow found their way to the bus terminal. Having decided that we’d recover from our jet lag in the English countryside before venturing into London, we boarded a bus to Woking and then caught a train to Salisbury, home of the eponymous cathedral and, of course, everyone’s favorite henge.
During our short layover in Woking, we popped into M&S and purchased a very nice English breakfast; quite different, I am sure, from the ones we’ll be consuming at our B&Bs in Salisbury and London.
If we can keep ourselves awake (I sense a cappuccino in my future), we’ll check out the cathedral and Stonehenge this afternoon. Both are sites that I visited with my father and brother back when I was a teenager, though Kenny has never been. At some point tomorrow we plan to catch a train to Bath.