London Day Two: Ends with a THRILLER!

London Day Two:  Ends with a THRILLER!

Shawn and I started the day with a continental breakfast at our hotel, Z Hotel, 17 Moor Street.  (my review). For about £8.5, it’s a buffet of pastries, cheese, tomatoes, cereal, yogurt, coffee and juices.  The lobby cafe has wi-fi so it’s a perfect working breakfast spot.  Afterwards, we catch the bus for another round on our 24-hour tour pass.

The Original London Sightseeing Tour, www.orginaltour.com:   This time, we board the blue route from our Piccadilly Circus stop.  On this tour, we see the Prince Albert Memorial and learn about Queen Victoria’s devotion to her husband.  When Prince Albert died at 42, the streetlights were painted black out of respect.  Their more contemporary counterparts maintain the tradition.  As a widow for 40 years, Queen Victoria continued to wear black throughout her reign.  WOW!  Those kind of epic love stories just don’t seem to exist anymore.  We also do a drive-by of the Natural History Museum, the British Museum and Harrod’s.  As is an option on this tour, we *hop off* at Harrod’s and do a brisk walk through the food halls, the Egyptian escalators and the fashion designer areas.  Harrod’s was started as a grocery store and their food halls still boast a variety of exotic and delectable goodies.

The weather here is chilly.  No rain but a dampness in the air.  In an open air tour bus, the cold gets a little bone chilling.  I’m even wearing several layers of clothing and a scarf.  We decide to take shelter inside a a cozy cafe.

Caffe Concerto (corner of Shaftesbury and Rupert):  I mix my warming-up beverages and order an Irish Coffee (coffee, whiskey and whip cream).  It does the trick.  I lose the chill.  Shawn gets the “Cream Tea for One,”  a three tier serving tray of teeny pastries (scones, custard and fruit tarts) and coffee.  The cafe is within blocks of about 5 theatres.  They must get a nice post-show crowd.  I love the quote on the menu.  “I feel the end is approaching.  Quick bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur.” -Brillat-Savarins (1755-1826).

My 21 year old niece, Abby, is doing a semester in London through her program at Purdue.  She joins us for lunch.  Or rather she joins us for her lunch.

Cambridge, 18 Moor Street:  Shawn and I are on a weird schedule.  We’ve been up since 6am so we ate breakfast early.  We got a little snack in the food halls at Harrods.  And Shawn had a dessert bite at Caffe Concerto.  We aren’t really hungry but Abby is.  We decide to go to the pub next to our hotel.  Abby gets a chicken and bacon sandwich.  We get a round of drinks.  Literally!  At many of our stops, we’ve had to order and pay for food/drinks at the bar counter.  No servers waiting on tables.  A food runner brings out Ab’s sandwich.  It works fine but call me diva, I really like people waiting on me…aside from Shawn.  😉

After lunch, Shawn decides to take a nap.  Between our eating and sleeping schedule, we are trying to get it when we need it.

Abby and I set out on a walking adventure.  We chat ourselves into unknown territory.  No clue where we were.  We did pass *Good Enough College* and *The Poor School – 2 year Acting Training.*  SERIOUSLY?!  We also passed Charles Dickens home, definitely  an inspirational moment for a writer.  We were planning to take the Tube back to the theatre district to meet Shawn.  This particular stop doesn’t sell new passes just reloads old ones.  Since I don’t have a pass, we decide to cab it back to our neighborhood.  I love the cabs in London.  Most are black.  The passenger area is big enough for 4-6 people.  The seats are arranged in a kind-of-circle too.  They are a quirky and cute transportation option.  Our ride back to the familiar is £9.  That seems reasonable since I believe we had walked somewhere near Scotland.

O’Neills, facebook.com/oneillspub:   We have a 7:30pm curtain so we meet Shawn a couple blocks from the theatre for dinner.  It’s a pub… surprise, surprise!  I flag down a guy wearing a shirt saying *Food Server* -I’m delighted at the possibility.  I explain to him that we have a 7:30 curtain and want to order dinner.  He looks at us with a blank face, turns away and never returns.  I’m totally getting the low tipping standard in London.  We…meaning Shawn… order at the bar counter!  Shawn and I both decide on the butternut squash and pumpkin risotto.  Tasty and easily splittable.  Neither of us finish it.  Plus, the pumpkin chunks are really carrots.  Ab gets a black bean and sweet potato burger which she completely enjoys.

THRILLER at the Lyric Theatre:  We saw the tribute show to Michael Jackson.  My complete review coming.  Meanwhile, I’ll just state that it was electrifying.  I imagine a similar show in the States may not be as respectful (?) to The King of Pop.  But in London, they, cast and audience, revere him.  It’s a fantastic show.

Abby leaves us after THRILLER to head back to her school flat in Paddington.  Shawn and I stroll down the street and score a table outside to do some late evening people watching.

Leon’s on Old Compton:  The scene in the theatre district is vibrant.  People are walking in the street.  The merriment levels are high.  We see women dressed to the hilt and stilt – on killer heels.  Gaggles of young people walking in packs.  This area is equivalent to New Orleans’ French Quarter.  We’ve noted public toilet troughs are brought out at night for the gentlemen.  To have a drink street side, we need to order a bite of food so we go with hummus and flatbread.  We make the request and pay at the counter.  A few times on this trip, our credit cards have been denied (and not for the reason you’re thinking).  The UK card readers have a speed bump reading some American cards.  My ATM credit card seems to work better than my standard credit card.  Odd and a little disconcerting but so far, we haven’t been completely stuck.

Back at our hotel, it’s lights out at midnight for me.  My room is right on Moor Street and I hear the revelry until about 1:30pm.  I usually can sleep through noise but I think my body is still reacting to the time zone differences.  I, eventually, lull into a restful sleep.  I’d say I’m getting about 5 hours of sleep a night.  I feel a little woozy in my balance but I’m drinking plenty of water.

It’s London, baby!  And I’m loving it!

Planning to come to London, check my friends at VisitLondon.com

 

 

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