Monday, April 13, 2015

London - Good Eats, Good Shopping, A Park, A Museum and A Show

While in London, we had a chance to do some really nice shopping and eating, as well as just walk around and enjoy the green spaces that London has to offer.  Looking back on it now, we managed to squeeze in a fair amount of stuff in not a lot of time.

On the shopping front, I procured a tan Burberry Brit trench coat, a bunch of Neal's Yard lotions, serums and creams (including a jasmine and ylang ylang body oil that I am super excited about), and a big, fluffy floral scarf.  Splurgeeee. The bag was so big.
We ate lunch at Comptoir Libinais in Marylebone for lunch, on a whim.  The food is fresh and reasonably priced and their pickles are to die for.  I eyed the massive 2 gallon glass jar and wistfully wished there was a practical way to bring them home.

 Michael and I shared the mezze platter.
 This is London's Hyde Park - something about the green spaces in London, the perpetually low hanging misty gray clouds and the always slightly damp, spongy grass, conjures in me a very strong sense of pathos, melancholy... and yet also peace.  Is that weird?  I likely read Wuthering Heights at too young of an age.

 I love these trees better for not having any leaves.
 We were in London at the perfect time for dazzling displays of daffodils, clustered together with their dainty heads shyly bowed.
 Just carpets of magic.
On Friday, I wandered into the National Portrait Gallery before it started to rain.  It was so nice to be in a museum again.  London's are so good, soo good, arguably the best in the world.  It struck me when I first visited years ago (and I am glad to say this has not yet changed) - the admission policy is the most open and generous of any I've seen.   There is not even a hint of the awkward song and dance of donations sought and donations reluctantly given or brazenly refused (which is pretty common in any other museum anywhere).  Here, anyone can saunter in as if it's their living room and study the paintings slowly, sit and space out, or just wander while waiting for the rain to stop.  It gives you the giddy and lasting impression that you own a piece of all of these precious and priceless artifacts too.
It didn't take long for me to be struck by the incongruity of the National Portrait Gallery though.  Look at this wall - full of white men...I hope the museums of our future look different.
Because I was headed to watch the Billy Elliot musical at the Victoria theater later that night (thank you tkts), I opted to stay in the Portrait Gallery and get an early pre show dinner.  The restaurant was bright and modern and had an enviable city view.
My phone was dying so I couldn't take pictures of my meal, but it was really good.  The entree in particular was standout - a gorgeous roast filet of sea bream with a light shrimp sauce, on top of a bed of perfectly roasted kale and paired with a buttery sweet potato mash.  Billy Elliot was not bad either!

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