Friday, August 12, 2011

London: Day One

I finally finished my first London post.  The next post will be a bit unconventional as I will detail our remaining time in England in one post rather than giving a daily play by play account of our travels in separate posts.  I figure that since we've already been in Sri lanka for a few days now, you really want to hear what's been going on here rather than reading posts from five days ago.....

With that said, enjoy London:  Day One
View From Our First Hotel
Sleeping in our first day in London, Shari and I awoke refreshed and ready to tackle the day.  As we got ready we talked about booking another hotel for later in the day as well as a room for the night prior to our departure.  This would allow us to maximize our sight seeing time in London and would cut down on the number of 88 pound round trip tickets we had to purchase.  Since our current hotel was a little expensive, we searched Orbitz and found a nice little chain of hotels called Club Quarters in multiple decent locations.  Rooms at all of the Club Quarters we search were about $113 US per night which is quite reasonable for a room in London.  We booked rooms at two separate Club Quarters, one in the financial district and one next to St Paul’s Cathedral, then checked out and made our way on the Tube to the first hotel to drop our bags.

Tube to Our Second Hotel
YAY-Early Check In!
Luckily, our room was ready when we arrived, so we checked into our new hotel, dropped our bags and headed out across the London Bridge for one of Shari’s all time favorite London markets, the Borough Market.
View of the Tower Bridge From the London Bridge
Outdoor Cafe Next to Southward Cathedral
The Borough Market is a small enclave of food vendors, grocers and restaurants set right next to the old Southwark Cathedral.  It features some incredibly fresh foods from all over the world not to mention the wine and beer vendors as well as a multitude of other food and beverage peddlers.

Sothwark Cathedral

Borough Market
Upon arrival, Shari took me for a brief tour of the market so I could get an idea of the layout, then, after buying some cheese from a local cheese maker and sitting down to a quick no frills lunch in the shadow of Southward Cathedral, we wound our way past yet even more incredible stalls from Spain, Italy, France, England and just about everywhere else imaginable.  I even bought some Ceylon (old name for Sri Lanka) Tea from one vendor, but I especially liked the Spanish store where they were cutting fresh slices of Serrano ham right off of the aged leg-I can only imagine the time needed to develop the proper skills for cutting the slices so paper thin.
Easy and Fresh Lunch!
Ceylon (Sri Lankan) Tea

Spanish Shop Selling Amazing Thinly Sliced Seranno
Shari wanted to visit a cheese store outside of the market so headed that direction to find the streets packed with locals enjoying a pint at 3:00 PM of a warm and lovely Friday afternoon.  Coming from the states, the concept of drinking booze openly in the street was foreign to me, but here these local Londoners were, not only knocking back pint after pint in fresh air outside of the pub, they were doing so right out of the pint glasses from the bar.  I think I could get used to this!
Enjoying a Pint at 3:00 PM on a Friday

Incredible Cheese Stores
Our appetite for the Borough Market satisfied, we ventured down the River Thames toward the huge Ferris wheel attraction called the London Eye (Check out for more information) to meet up with one of Shari's Sri Lankan friends named Suranjan.  Suranjan is a businessman who splits his time between Sri Lanka and London.  Luckily for us, he was back in the UK and available to meet, so we both looked forward to seeing him.  

It was such a nice day out, the walking path adjacent to the River Thames and all of the pubs and restaurants were packed with people enjoying the great weather.  We snapped photo after photo of interesting places and gorgeous old buildings along the way.  We even took a walk out on the Millennium bridge for a few pictures.  Contrary to its grand opening, the bridge was sound under foot, so we sauntered down the path a bit further.

View From the Millennium Bridge
The London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament
Upon reaching the London Eye, we hooked up with Suranjan and his partner Caroline, hit a local pub for a drink, then walked across a bridge into Covent Gardens.  This place was rockin!  As night began to envelop the city, people were out in force to dine at the many restaurants, watch and listen to the multitude of street performers or shop at a number of different stores.  We took a stroll around the area to take it all in before retiring to the White Lion Pub for some traditional British Fair:  Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash.  Shari got the fish and chips and I the bangers and mash along with a pint of bitter (beer).  I must admit, the food was not as heavy as I thought it would be (maybe it was due to all of the walking we had been doing over the past few days).
Covent Gardens
Traditional Fish and Chips with mushy peas at a Great Pub
Bangers and Mash
After dinner, Suranjan and Caroline had to leave because Suranjan was going to the new business he just started at the wholesale vegetable market.  The market opens every evening with vegetables coming in from around Europe for sale in stores the following day.  It was going to be a long night for Suranjan and for Shari and I too.  We decided to walk down a great little street filled with shops toward Leicster Square.
Suranjan and Caroline
There were tons of people out and about as we continued our walk-it was a really happening spot.  We had one thing on our minds though, Ciao gelato shop.  We shared a sundae, then walked back toward Covent Gardens to catch the tube back to the hotel to get ready for another day of walking, sightseeing and of course, eating.
Capping Yet Another Evening With Gelato 
To see all of the pictures from our first day in Londan, go to:
and click on London Day One

No comments:

Post a Comment