Saturday, April 11, 2009

london travelog day two (click here for pix)

editor's note: each day of my trip, i'll post in a few consistent categories, as well as make the post title a link to a photo album.

leicester square, picadilly circus, parks and buckingham palace, and trafalgar square and the west end were the areas i roamed today.

sights & observations: the plan had been to go to st. paul's but being good friday, it was open only for services. so i headed to the 1/2 price ticket booth at leicester square. there wasn't anything with a discount ticket that i was dying to see, but i did spot a movie at the odeon theatre there that i did want to see & it was one that seems unlikely to be released in the states as it was about british pirate radio in the 60's called the boat that rocked. movie was fabulous!

and the experience of going to a movie here, at least at the odeon theatre in leicester square, was completely different than going to the movie in the states. first of all, you choose your seat like you would if you were going to live theatre. second, at the concession, i was asked what kind of popcorn i wanted: sweet or salty. never once have i had this option at home. i chose sweet which was good-we'd call it kettle corn! next the theatre was huge and had a stage with curtains. the curtains opened, two sets of them, and the previews and 'adverts' began. then the second curtain closed and reopened for the start of the film. and then i loved the movie. need to locate the soundtrack before i go home.

after leaving the theatre i wandered to waterstone's, a five story bookstore in the picadilly area. was very excited to find a 3 for 2 on books including a couple of books by my favorite uk chick lit authors katie fforde, whose new book isn't available in the states for another few weeks, and marian keyes new book in paperback, which is still only in hardback at home. for my third book, i picked up a copy of miss pettigrew saves the day. i LOVED that movie and am excited to now read the book behind it.

from waterstone's i went a few blocks down to fortnum & mason, kind of like harrod's only somehow, more refined & elegant. a friend recommended having tea there, but being easter weekend, the wait was really long. instead i wandered through the food halls. so facsincating! i've decided i love food halls and wish we had them in the states. while our grocery stores are convenient, they just aren't as interesting or have as much eye and sense appeal. oh, and they had simply the most gorgeous wedding cakes i'd ever seen on display. should i ever need a wedding cake, i'd like it modeled after the chandelier cake here.

since i skipped the wait for tea at fortnum & mason, i was hungry and went in search of food and found a hole in the wall curry shop. i got a chicken curry take-away and wandered a bit further to the green park and had a little al fresco late lunch in the park. from there i walked to buckingham palace and then up the mall back to trafalgar square and to the national gallery, which i adored on my last trip to london.

since there were still tickets available for the picasso exhibition, i checked that out. while i obviously respect his work, for me personally, the majority of it is disturbing. it's just disjointed and unsettling. so i left picasso and headed up to the old master's and the early italian renaissance art. because much of it deals with religious themes from the early catholic church, it was good for reflection on good friday. one of the things i noticed this time is how there are quite a number of paintings with elizabeth and mary and john the baptist and jesus as infants. in most of them, there is an obvious intimacy between the two women which i found interesting that it was there since most all of the paintings were done by men. just something for me to ponder for a bit.

after the national gallery, i came across an older gentleman playing the most amazing waltzes on his violin. the classical music he played was completely a contrast from the lime green tux and neon pink cowboy hat he wore. i watched and listened for awhile. he seemed to be having a great time. from there i wandered across the street to st. martin in the fields, and was mesmerized by a statue in front of the church. i could also hear the concert of handel's music drifting out. from there, i wandered back thru the west end to picadilly circus before taking the tube back to the hotel. i'd thot i'd stop into a pub between my tube stop and the hotel, but i was wiped, that i just came back to the hotel and crashed.

food: started the day with a latte & croissant from a local coffee shop. next stop was the movie where i proceeded to eat almost the entire container of 'sweet popcorn' which didn't leave me hungry for quite sometime. when i finally was hungry, i found a curry shop and a yummy, oversized chicken curry. so good! i capped off the evening with an orange cream and a violet cream chocolates i'd purchased yesterday at harrod's. apparently in english chocolates, the use of flower oil from roses and violets is quite popular in making creams. and it's really good. it has a delicate flavor. i think some of these need to make the trip home with me. i am down to my last two chocolates, so i think i need to replenish that supply :). oh, and i stopped in a couple pret shops (see yesterday's post) in search of the crayfish and rocket sandwich. no luck. oh well.

today: it's market day! off to notting hill & the portobello road market, then up to camden for the market there.

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