October 29th: Day 2, London
We woke up at 9 am and had breakfast with our AirBNB host at a local pub, which was super cheap. I had teacakes (which are somewhere in between an English muffin and a raisin/cinnamon muffin) and a cup of tea, Louie had a breakfast wrap. Afterwards we went to Pret a Manger and our host bought us each cups of coffee and a chocolate croissant, which he insisted were made in France and then brought over to Pret daily. (Not sure if that’s true or not, can anyone confirm?) Either way, the coffee at Pret was much better than the drinks we had at Starbucks in Piccadilly the day prior. (Starbucks is truly awful here.)
Then we walked across the Hungerford Bridge (pictured above) on our way to the South Bank to visit the London Eye. The queue was a bit long, it took about 45 minutes from the time we lined up to boarding.
The view from the top is astounding, and despite it being a not-so-clear day we could see a great deal of the city. It’s a fantastic vantage point if you’re not afraid of heights. (To be honest, it isn’t scary at all even if you are afraid of heights. The pods are entirely enclosed and do not swing at all, plus it moves slow enough that you do not feel it rotating.)
After the Eye we went on to the Tate Modern museum. To get there we walked along the Thames, which took about 10-15 minutes. The Tate Modern is in quite an ugly building, but is a rather nice space inside. Admission is free, but I did put a pound down for a map. The map was certainly not worth a pound, as we hardly looked at it, but I felt like I was contributing to a nice thing at least.
The art inside is your typical modern art faire: Picasso, Pollock, Mondrian, Rothko, etc. I took a few photos of the artwork but it’s hard to get the color right in those. (Or should I say “colour“?) We did the entire museum—all 4 floors—in about 2 hours. There’s a balcony on the 3rd floor where the cafe is that has a good view of St. Paul’s, so I took a picture there:
Then we took the Tube to Piccadilly to meet up with Madelin and Michelle for tea at the Wolseley. They were late meeting us, so Louie and I retreated from the rain into Cafe Nero which has absolutely delicious coffee. (My favorite in England so far!)
Tea in the Wolseley there was extremely fancy, and we were embarrassingly underdressed. However, it was fun to eat posh little tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off, assorted pastries, scones with freshly made strawberry jam and clotted cream, and the “Afternoon Blend” tea which you had to pour into your cup with a fancy strainer-type device.
Here’s Louie pouring out his tea:
Afterwards all four of us walked over to Covent Garden to check out the Covent Garden Apple Store, where we parted ways. Louie and I wandered around Covent Garden some more before we were hungry enough for dinner (as we had sat down for tea at 5). We ate at a place called Maxwell’s, which was having a “Monday Madness” deal on food—50% off the main dishes. Their garlic mash was amazing!
Back at our AirBNB our host greeted us with a bottle of vodka and some margarita glasses! We sat conversing and drinking a mix of vodka and carbonated apple juice until nearly 2 in the morning. Our host is an Android developer, so he and Louie had a fun back-and-forth Android-vs-iPhone thing going on. We also talked about words for being drunk (“strawberried” always comes up for this), curse words (“twat”!) and other things we should check out after we get back to London from Manchester.
It was a long, fun-filled day for sure.