Saturday, October 14, 2006
my new favorite city
london. london is my new favorite city. two weeks ago today, i was shopping in the market on portobello road in notting hill (yes, like the movie). besides notting hill, my friend jeannie, who went with me, and i spent time at westminster abbey, trafalgar square, covent garden market, tower of london, a musical (avenue q), national gallery, harrods, and windsor castle. we rode the tube and spent quite a bit of time walking around london passing landmarks like big ben, parliament, buckingham palace & hyde park. we walked along the thames and saw the london eye, tate modern, and shakespeare's old globe. we crossed the millenium bridge and saw st paul's cathedral. we ate in pubs and at wagamama (we so need to lobby for these to come to the states). i had fruit beer at belgo--yum! i think my favorites on the food were the panko-crusted sweet potatoes & butternut squash at wagamama, stilton & wild mushroom tart at the pub near our hotel, and a pumpkin & parmesean tart i bought at the market in notting hill. also, the chocolates from harrods were quite yummy.
most of all, i just loved being there. i loved walking the few minutes from our hotel to the tube stop and passing little mom & pop markets and 3 pubs. i loved that our hotel had a little green park behind it and that it had narrow stairs and tiny halls. i enjoyed taking the tube everywhere and all the walking. it was fun to wander thru leicester square, covent garden and piccadilly circus. just wandering around london was one of my top 3 highlights.
another of the top 3 highlights was my visit to the national gallery. i saw so much in only 3 hours...rubuen, rembrandt, renoir, gainsborough, picasso, monet, manet, vermeer, van gogh, da vinci...i could spend days there. my favorite painting this time turned out to be this renoir titled the umbrellas. there was something so captivating about it, particularly the little girl in the lower right corner with the hoop toy. i can't say how much i loved this museum. i bought half a dozen postcards of art i loved. on my next trip, this will be a main stop.
the final of my top 3 was our visit to windsor castle. the trip is 45 minutes by train and you come around the final bend and there it is--castle! it's quite interesting and there's a ton of history since it's over 900 years old. we visited on a sunday and went to evensong at st.george's chapel. it was the most beautiful service. there was an all male choir and the acoustics were amazing. it was lovely, although a bit hard to stay awake since it was late afternoon, very quiet and we'd just eaten. nevertheless, it was a highlight of my trip.
i can't wait to go back...i'm looking for a deal to go back in the winter and spend my time wandering around museums for a few days. i want to see manet to picasso again at the national gallery and just spend longer there and i want to check out the tate modern's unilever series--giant slides you can go down.