Since we had a very enjoyable trip to London over the summer, when we went back for a few days over New Year's, we had a chance to do a couple items we missed before, but mostly just had fun exploring the city in more depth.
We walked across the Tower Bridge and spent time noting that right next to the historic bridge and London Tower, home of former royals such as Henry VIII and the Queen's Jewels, is modern day London, with loads of construction, including the "Shard" which opened this summer and is 80% owned by Qatar. The world has seriously changed since Henry VIII. The two pictures on the right are each side of the Thames River and taken from on the bridge.
We also spent some time at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which admittedly, I mostly wanted to see because my favorite restaurant in the world is called Victoria and Albert's. (It's at Disneyworld, only has thirty seats and requires reservations months in advance, but such a great experience!) Anyways, the museum is free, and we enjoyed a detailed exhibit on jewelry where no photos were allowed. They also had some main rooms under construction (we asked and they are re-doing the floor) so many things were partly boxed up, but it was fun to see and pretend we were in the movie "The Thomas Crown Affair." We also asked and found out that much of what they have are actually cast molds of original pieces from around the world. Hence, the David, which is actually in Florence.
The museum had a library which was filled with ancient manuscripts, that theoretically, as long as you made an advance appointment, anyone could flip through. Mostly, it just smelled like old books though, so we didn't spend much time in there.
We spent the better part of an afternoon in a social club, which was a great place to sit, relax, and enjoy a leisurely meal. It was especially helpful as we spent that morning meandering along the weekend market at Portobello Road, which really was filled with vendors selling all sorts of goods like in the movie "Notting Hill".
I'm not sure which street this is, but it was amusing to see some of the holiday decorations still up, and to see that in London, they double as ads, in this case for Marmite Gold, which is some kind of food product, meant for bread, but what exactly, I'm not so sure. I chock it up to being a British thing.
One of the highlights of the trip was our fancy dinner out at Rules Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in London. The restaurant has a game preserve further north in London, and if folks don't want all of what they shoot, the rest is served at the restaurant. Hence, warnings like "game dishes may contain lead shot." Fortunately, none of our dishes did.
It also explained some of the decor, which was along the lines of an olden time hunter's lodge, but with a modern sense of humor (or humour to spell it British style.)
Everything about the meal was great. Starting with our beverages: I had the "Kate Middleton", Greg had a Guinness in a pewter mug, and the three of us shared a superb bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.
For dinner, Greg and I shared a roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding, which came with spinach, and truffle macaroni and cheese, and all in all, was superb!
The other big highlight of our time in London was New Year's Eve, in which our friend Hadley had us tag along to a dinner some of her local friends were having. The food was an eight-course Mexican meal prepared by someone who grew up in San Diego and made a great meal, and the company was even better. If you're wondering why I have this picture when I am talking about New Year's, that would be because they lived next to Amy Winehouse, who used to live in this home. Apparently, she was as you might expect, a bit noisy late at night, but if things got bad, they would loudly play her music, mostly her song "Rehab" as they got ready for work in the morning. Yup, definitely folks we got along with for a great New Year's Eve. London definitely came through for another great visit and is one of our favorite cities!