Monday, August 15, 2011

Remaining Days In England

Railway Arches
Day two in London began with an excursion to find the best grilled cheese sandwich in London.  Shari first tried the sandwich at the Borough Market the last time she was in London, but the stall had been moved since then, so after a bit of investigation, she found that the new location was in the railway arch district down the street from the tower bridge.  The railway arch district is an area where shops and business are run out of old storage spaces under a major elevated railway.  It was a bit difficult to find, but absolutely fantastic to see all of the wonderful businesses that called these old arches their home.  Business from coffee houses to vegetable shops, micro breweries to furniture stores.  The numbering system of the arches; however, was a bit confusing, so after walking for what seemed like an eternity, we were ready to throw in the towel and head to the tube stop to start our sight seeing for the day.  Turns out, we were only a few hundred feet away from our destination and by some divine intervention, decided to give it one more go before heading away from our cheesy goodness forever.

Our persistence paid off handsomely as we found what we were looking for:  Kappacasein.  The shop was spartan to say the least and the menu limited, but the sandwich was the best toasted cheese I have ever eaten.  Simple ingredients:  homemade cheese, onion and leak on this fantastic hardy bread.  Kappacasein also serves new potatoes with melted cheese, but if you are looking for anything else, you better find a different shop.  I won't go on singing the praises of this place-that would take more than a few blog posts, but I will say that if you are ever in London, you need to check this place out (
Amazing Toasted Cheese

A Must Visit!
The rest of our day looked like this:

1.  A visit to Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abby
2.  Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square
3.  Notting Hill

I am by no means trying to be dismissive of some of the most incredible sights London has to offer, but they are well know and probably something you can read about on your own or have even possibly visited.  I am more inclined to talk about the hidden and obscure gems we ran across during our visit.

Westminster Abby

Parliament and Big Ben

Buckingham Palace

The Avenue Leading to Buckingham Palace

Trafalgar Square
One of these little gems is the Portobello Market in Notting Hill.  An incredibly affluent neighborhood that turns into a street market by day, the Portobello Market is a fantastic mix of street vendors hawking everything from antiques to food and clothing....The shops and restaurants along the main drag are pretty amazing as well.  If you are in London, do yourself a favor and visit the Portobello Market.  We certainly enjoyed it and I am sure you will too.
Great Little Neighborhood

Incredible Buildings

Awesome Market
Having our fill of Noting Hill, it was time to get back to Kings Cross to catch the train to Huntingdon to spend a little time with Manisha and Neshan before our last day and a half in London prior to our departure to Sri Lanka.

We arrived late in the evening again but awoke to a freshly prepared Sri Lankan lunch of chicken curry, potatoes, yellow rice,  green beans and pappadan (crispy thin chip like munchies) after sleeping in a bit.  The food was great and our hosts gracious as we packed and headed out to London again for our last day and a half before heading to the airport.
Enjoying LEGAL Public Drinking
Arriving at the St Paul's tube stop late Sunday afternoon, we schlepped our luggage down the street to the Club Quarters and relaxed a bit while we made plans for the evening.  It looked like another Jamie Oliver night since we were staying right around the corner from one of his "other" restaurants called Barbacoa.  After an appetizer and a cocktail, it was off to Jamie's Italian in Covent Gardens for our last evening meal in London.  The food was once again excellent, but I thought the Cambridge location was a bit better to be honest.
ANOTHER Jamie Oliver Restaurant....

....And Yet Another
Waking on our last day in London, we decided to hit a few more tourists spots before heading to the airport.  First order of business was to have a proper English Breakfast.  Although I had been in England for about five days, I still had not had my breaky, so we found a nice little pub across way from our hotel and fueled up on bangers, eggs, bacon, grilled tomato and mushrooms and chips with coffee of course.
Proper English Breaky Joint
After breaky, we headed to Harrod's-one of the most over the top department stores I have ever seen in my life.  This placed was owned by the family of the late Dodi Fayed (the man who was to marry Princess Diana before they were killed in a car accident in Paris) and had everything from high end clothing to caviar bars.  It was interesting just touring the joint, but we were done after about an hour and a $25 gelato!
Over the Top

Really Over The Top

Really, Really Over the Top!!
Leaving Harrod's, we found a great little park to take a nap as we walked toward Soho and Piccadilly Circus.  Nap complete, we experienced the Broadway feel and seedy side of Soho and the incredible buzz around Piccadilly Circus and stumbled on a great pub where we had our last meal of fish before heading to Heathrow to catch our flight to Sri Lanka.
Piccadilly Circus

Last Meal in London
Our trip to England and France was wonderful and I definitely learned a thing or two that I would like to pass on to those who have never been:

1.  Take the same transportation as the locals.  We could have taken a taxi or other mode of transport, but it was great taking subways and walking everywhere.  It may have seemed like my blog was all about food, but for the amount of walking we did, believe me, we needed the energy.  We walked more than I have walked in a very long time, but in my point of view, it's such a great way to see and experience these great cities rather than jetting around in a motorized vehicle of some sort.
2.  Get off the beaten path and find places that locals like to frequent.  Don't get me wrong, you must see some of the major sights, but get out of your comfort zone a bit and go to places that are not completely tourists destinations.  Be open, honest,  ask questions, and at least make an attempt to speak the language and you will be amazed how many people will be willing and proud to share their culture with you.

With that said, the European portion of journey came to an end and we arrived at Heathrow ready to board the plane to our new lives in Sri Lanka.  I will begin posting on a weekly basis, rather than daily or every other day from now on.  It should be interesting, so stay tuned for all of the excitement......

To see all of the pictures of our last few days (and nights) in London, go to:
and click on the following:
1.  London:  Day Two
2.  Last Day in Huntingdon and Last Trip to London
3.  Last Night in London
4.  Last Day in London


  1. Love these posts! Glad you guys had fun! SL posts are next!

  2. Sri Lanka looks awesome! What a NICE PAD you're going to be living in. Your living room is larger than our entire place. Good to see you landed and everything is cool.