Tuesday, December 4, 2012

UK Trip Part VIII: London

We made it to London in one piece. It is a bit of a drive down from Manchester. When all was said and done, we dropped the car off at exactly 6:00 which is when we were to get it back by. I could not believe the perfect timing! Conveniently located at Euston Station where we returned the car is both Euston Tap and Euston Cider so we could all celebrate the car return. We chose Euston Cider since there were less people and Ben needed a pint immediately after that drive through rush hour to the station from our hotel.

That evening we headed to Brick Lane for some Indian food. If you have not been to Brick Lane, there are several restaurants with men coming up to you from all angles trying to get you in to their place to eat. We already knew where we were going though, Shampan. The four of us went there years ago and I think we chose it because it’s about the only place on the street without someone harassing you to eat there. This is also the first place I ever had Indian food. Sooooo good! The papadum for starters is a must! Following dinner we hit some pubs, including Ye Olde Mitre and our old standby in Camden, the Dublin Castle.

Friday we went to Somerset House to check out the Cartier-Bresson photography exhibit, A Question of Colour. There were some really fantastic photographs of moments in everyday life. Besides a handful of Cartier-Bresson works, there were several other works by other photographers influenced by him. On our way out we stumbled upon another interesting exhibit, Tim Walker: Story Teller. There were many pieces of his fashion photography alongside props used for the photo shoots, such as a larger than life doll and a broken up airplane. Equally interesting was the loads of fashion students there on a field trip. The way the majority of them were dressed was…well, um…let’s just say “unique.”

After Somerset House we headed to the Borough Market. We love this place! Especially the New Forest Cider stand and the Rake. The Rake is a tiny pub on the edge of the market that has a nice craft beer selection. There is so much food at the market. Definitely something for everyone. Pubs we hit that day besides the Rake: The Champion, Pillars of Hercules, Brew Dog, and the Elephant’s Head. We had originally planned to go to a soul night club thing but instead ended at the Elephant’s Head which was I am sure way better than that club would have been. Our favorite DJ was there and played a fabulous selection of soul. Wish we knew what his name was as we have been going to Elephant’s Head and listening to him spin for years! Any time someone asks me things to do while in London, going to the E Head is always one of my recommendations for music. Free to get in and there is a DJ Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Sundays there are our favorite.

Saturday we went to the Arsenal v. Fulham match. Great to make it to Emirates again. Unfortunately it ended in a draw which felt like a loss after Arsenal missed scoring on a penalty kick in the last minute of stoppage time. After the match we headed to the Arsenal Tavern to have some drinks. We then met up with Neil and Susie back in Camden which is where we hung out the rest of the night.

Our final day was Remembrance Day Sunday. Ben headed down to see if he could catch some of the parade. It was so crowded he did not get close enough to really see anything. We met him at the Lamb and Flag pub after. There was a group of old war veterans in there. It was so amazing to see them all together and all of those medals they were wearing. They all got behind the bar for a photo. Apparently a plaque for their division is going to be put up in the pub. We’ll have to look for it the next time we are there. I really wish I had a photo of the old Scottish veteran of the group with his fabulous tartan trousers.

The group was on a mission for a good Sunday roast which we ended up at the Queen of Shoreditch for. Thankfully they had a great veggie option so we all had a nice meal. Before that we stopped for a drink at Dirty Dicks pub and saw John Malkovich walking down the street. I only saw the back of him but Ben ran after him to get a look. What are the odds? That evening we went to a recent favorite of ours, the Southampton Arms. It was packed but we got a table outside with a heat lamp. This pub has a great selection of cider of which we tried many. It was a perfect way to end our trip.

I have hardly any photos of the London leg of our trip. I never seem to take many when we are there since I just feel like we are home again. Now we get to count down to our next vacation, Viva Las Vegas!

we barely fit all of the luggage in the trunk

victory at the car rental return...time for a victory pint!

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