By the time we got back to London we were pretty much museumed and art galleried out! This meant we spent more time wandering in parks, shopping, and doing some of the more touristy things. Also one of the big draw cards of London for me (apart from being never having been there before) is that my baby (6'4") brother Marc has been living there since not long after we moved to Abu Dhabi.
We started the trip (before heading off to Paris) with a visit to the famous Portobello Road market in Notthing Hill. It was full of colour and too many people.
The best part was all the interesting food stalls and fresh flowers. Here's Chi Wai and Marc enjoying their German sausages that we had for lunch. Yum!
The day after we got back from Paris we had a lovely morning walking through Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, admiring the flowering bulbs, chasing squirrels and stopping off at the Diana's Memorial.
We had a lovely lunch at the Orangery Cafe next to Kensington Palace. The Orangery Cake with a pot of English Breakfast after lunch was divine!
After lunch we spent the afternoon at the fantastic Victoria & Albert museum, the only museum we went to in London. The V&A museum houses objects such as furniture, household items and fashion. It was really interesting to see the different fashions in home decor through the ages.
This was the chandelier in the main foyer. We thought it was cool, plus I like this photo that Chi Wai took.
That night we went out for dinner with my brother, his lovely girlfriend Jo and also her family, to a little Thai place near where my brother lives.
Here's Marc and Jo.
And here is me and Chi Wai. Chi Wai is sporting a lovely red wine glow!
The next day we met Marc and Jo in the Spitalfields area (near the famous Brick Lane) to have lunch and to check out the markets there. These markets were much better than those at Portobello Road. Lots of funky hand made things which I love. I bought some gorgeous handmade baby bibs (cluck cluck) and I even found a stall selling yarn where I bought some scrumptious cashmere, some divinely soft bamboo and some yarn made from banana (well I never!).
So that rounded off the weekend. During the follwing week we did some shopping in the city, the open top bus tour, took a trip out to Windsor to look at the Castle and went to the Tower of London.
The open top bus tour took in all the major sights of London. You know, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square. It was a good way to see a lot in one day.
We also stopped off, had a cruise along the Thames and went on the "London Eye".
The best part of this day, came right at the end when we signed up for what was advertised as a walking "Ghost Tour", part of the bus tour ticket price. When we arrived the tour guide (a slightly mad Irishman) advised us that the ghost tour was boring and that he would be taking us on a pub crawl instead. Everyone (including us) seemed quite happy with this arrangement and off we set. The guide took us to six fabulous traditional English pubs complete with low ceilings, winding staircases and pork scratchings. We met some great people on the tour, had a great time and got home after midnight (a late night for me in my current condition). We really enjoyed it because it was something that we probably wouldn't have done by ourselves and Chi Wai got to drink beer while I watched!
Windsor is an hour train ride from London and is home of Winsdor Castle, the place where the Queen likes to hang at the weekend. It's a working castle but quite a large section is open to the public.
The most interesting part was being able to watch the famous "changing of the guard". Talk about pomp and ceremony! The whole thing , complete with a huge brass band playing toe tapping jazz classics, went for about 45 minutes! I found it mildly hilrious and intriguing at the same time.
Chi Wai rather thought he'd like to get a job as one of the Queen's guards. What do you think?
All in all we had a fantastic trip. We loved both Paris and London. Great people and public transport in both cities! Paris was so beautiful and romantic, while London gave us the feeling that it was a city that would be really easy to live in. It was great to see Marc and finally meet Jo as well.
I'll leave you with one last picture of Chi Wai and I in a little park just across the road from our hotel in Paddington.
PS. Here's the answer to the question I posed in my last post in order of appearance.
1. Preppy Vest (in the winged voctory photo)
2. Loopy Scarf (top of Arc de Triomphe)
3. Fair Isle Tam (Notre Dame Photos)
4. Green Branching Out Scarf (Notre Dame Photos)
5. Chi Wai's Brown Irish Hiking Scarf (Pate photo).
The white fluffy hat threw a few people off. It's not a handknit, although it is knitted. So there you go!