Some Last Thoughts on London

As we wrapped up London and headed out to Spain, I wished we had more time to spend in one of my most favorite cities in the world, but it was not to be. Our trip here was a lightning fast jaunt and but not for the cold weather, lack of appropriate attire, and jet lag, we had a great time. How could we not stop at Covent Garden for a jacket potato and mulled wine?

After all, on our honeymoon we enjoyed jacket potatoes here as well. Although that vendor was long gone and we were there with our son, it was our feeble attempt at recreating a memory. Although there’s a horrible shadow in the picture, here are the jacket potatoes: one with chicken curry and the other with vegetable curry. It’s funny how food and music are always tied to memories, especially our most important ones.

Be forewarned that you should not take pictures inside Covent Garden where the vendors are all set up. I didn’t see any signs because the place was absolutely packed. I wasn’t taking a picture of anything in particular other than the decorations and the place overall, but one of the vendors came over and forcefully placed her hand over my camera lens. I was so shocked that I didn’t say anything other than, “Huh?” and she kind of barked at me that there were signs. Wow — never saw that coming and she is awfully lucky she didn’t break my camera. That’s the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like that there so I’m hoping she was just feeling grumpy that day. Someone always has to, right?

I forgot about this statue in an early post so I would put it here since it is an admirable statue of Boudicca near Westminster Pier pulled by horses on a chariot. For all the world, this massive bronze statue of the legendary Queen Boudicca in her chariot looks as if it’s about to take the City of London. Pulled by rearing horses, Boudicca – or Boadicea as she’s sometimes known – looks capable of anything. If history is to be believed, she was a formidable enemy. After the Roman occupying force flogged her and raped her daughters, Boudicca led her East Anglian forces into battle against them, ransacking Colchester and St. Albans and burning London before being finally defeated in AD62. The statue was made by the English artist Thomas Thornycroft from 1856 until 1885, but it wasn’t erected in its current position near Westminster Bridge until 1902. Interest in Boudica was revived in Victorian times when Queen Victoria was portrayed as her namesake.

I mentioned previously that we stumbled upon the London Eye Christmas Market completely by surprise. A German style Christmas Market with approximately 60 wooden chalets situated between Southbank Centre and London Eye, this is the third time that the market has been here. It’s a great place to shop, walk, and enjoy the company of family and friends along the Thames River. The carousel in the center of the Christmas Market and offers younger visitors an enjoyable attraction especially for them. Parents can relax with a glass of “Glühwein” (German Mulled Wine) while listening to traditional Christmas music and watching their little ones enjoying a ride on the merry-go-round. Tucked away amongst the chalets, find Santa’s Secret Village. Meet Santa Claus and enjoy enchanting 30 minute children’s shows with a framed photograph to take away. Other seasonal culinary specialties such as the typical German Sausage “Bratwurst,” gingerbread hearts for your loved ones, roasted almonds and candies to taste the “sweet side of life“ or a delicious crepe. The aromas wafting about this area are undeniable. Have your money handy and get ready to enjoy a delicious treat for both your stomach and your eyes as you feast on the assortment of crafts and food available. The Christmas Market will take place from the 19th November 2010 until the 23rd December 2010.

In the London Grafitti Tunnel I took several pictures, but when I went to look at them they were all too dark and I mean almost black. I adjusted the light to make out what was in them and most didn’t look like anything, but I loved the comic book feel to this one. Those two figures are my husband and son or at least I think they are!

Next time I’m in London I’m staying at this place. After all, when I can stay somewhere where I can also get fish and chicken, isn’t it the ideal place to stay?

We packed up our bags that day and walked up to the Westminster tube station. This was my first incident with Calvin, my suitcase. As I rolled it over a set of stairs, the luggage belt broke. I managed without it and we took the tube one station to Victoria where we got out and walked to the train station. There was a Marks & Spencer Simply Food store where we picked up a few snacks for dinner and quickly made our way to catch the Gatwick Express. I purchased our tickets online and did so because when you buy two tickets, the third and fourth tickets are free. The ride was exceptionally fast and soon we arrived at Gatwick. It took us far longer than I would have liked to find our way outside of the airport to the Courtyard Marriott located on the airport property, but we managed. Ironically enough, there was a M&S Simply Food shop at Gatwick as we were exiting the airport so we could have saved ourselves a little trouble lugging the food from Victoria Station, but we’ll know for next time. We decided to stay close to the airport because our flight the next morning was at 6:40 am and we knew we would need to be there at least two hours earlier. We walked about 15 minutes to the hotel, checked in, and relaxed. Yes, we could have taken a cab or the airport shuttle, but it wasn’t that bad of a walk.

Next time? We are on our way to Spain!