October 27, 2009

England and Wales, part 1: London

Hello out there. Anyone listening? Amazing how four months can just fly by like that.

For the next few posts I'd like to share some snapshots from my "recent" trip to England and Wales. First up: London!

Kensington Gardens

For whatever reason, England was one of those places that I never had a strong urge to visit. Scotland - yes, Ireland - definitely!, Wales - why not? ...But England never had much appeal. But oh how wrong I was. England was truly delightful. From the minute I stepped off the plane, I felt as though I'd come home.

For one thing, the weather was fantastic. Although we'd been duly warned of the risks of traveling in the UK in April, we had nothing but blue skies and sunshine for the first half of our trip (although we were later duly punished by gale force winds and torrential rains).

Wild Boar Sausage at Borough Market

And again, despite dire warnings from friends, family, and total strangers about how bad the food would be, we found the opposite to be true. Almost everywhere we went, we ate very well indeed- particularly, though not exclusively, in London.

Touristy, yes, but I was like a kid in a candy store at the Borough Market. The location is spectacular and the atmosphere is really enjoyable if you can tolerate the crowds. The sheer variety and quality of the food for sale was amazing. We got ourselves some boar sausage and ate it next door outside the Southwark Cathedral, then went back for dessert and coffee from Monmouth Coffee Co.

Clearly there was no way to resist such adorable shortbread. Unfortunately they looked better than they tasted.

Of course there was plenty of sightseeing. We made the mistake of visiting the British Museum just as all of the major galleries were closing, but I still got in a rushed tour of the highlights.

A centaur gets the ole' knee-in-the-back from a headless Lapith, Parthenon Marbles, British Museum



We spent our last morning in London with pastries and coffee from Ottolenghi, walking in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.