Two Delicious Days in London

Weird new random sculpture in Trafalgar Square. Photo by BBC.

After our amazing week in Paris, Gabe and I headed to London on the Eurostar. What a great way to travel! The high-speed rail system makes the 300-mile journey across the French countryside and under the English Channel in two hours and 17 minutes. Because it leaves from the center of Paris and arrives in the center of London, it’s faster than flying. Thanks to the Eurostar, we had a leisurely morning in Paris, and still got to our London apartment in time for walking around and an early dinner. America?

Photo by World In Paris

Because we only had a couple of days in town, we didn’t see *everything,* but we saw a lot. We skipped the hop-on-hop-off buses because they didn’t enforce masking (London is Covid-careless) and it was too cold for the hours of walking we did in Paris. Fortunately, our Soho apartment was an easy trek to Covent Garden, the British Museum, and the National Gallery.

The neighborhood was still dressed up for the holidays. Photo of Covent Garden Market by Telegraph Online

We loved the British Museum, especially the mummies, the Sutton Hoo ship, and the Greek sculptures. We were painfully aware that most of the museum’s treasures were pillaged by the UK in its empire days. It took me three visits over 30 years to really appreciate the significance of this, but Gabe got it immediately. Perhaps the most famous of the museum’s stolen treasures are the friezes from the Parthenon in Athens, which the museum used to call the “Elgin Marbles” after the British lord who stole them. (Imagine calling the Mona Lisa “The Peruggia Portrait” after the man who stole the painting from the Louvre in 1911). Some museums are returning stolen booty but, so far, not the British Museum.

Gabe especially loved the Greek vases. Photo by British Museum

Of course, we ate well, even if it was mostly take-out. London is known for its great Indian food and we enjoyed perfectly prepared curries at award-winning Dishoom. London also has a lot of great Middle Eastern Restaurants, including Michelin-rated Berenjak, just a few doors down from our apartment. It’s nothing fancy but the food was exceptional, grilled kebabs for Gabe and spicy eggplant for me. Gabe found a perfectly British fish and chips stand, and I got a Vietnamese vegan bun bowl a few doors down. We skipped drinking pints in pubs for safety reasons, but the local convenience store had a good selection of English beer.

Our Soho apartment was in the building with the green door. Photo by movermarket.com

The highlight of our London stay was seeing a performance of the Book of Mormon, which parodies organized religion and American exceptionalism, among other things. It was certainly one of the best productions I’ve ever seen, with layers of satire, great music, and references to other musicals, including Busby Berkeley choreography and a number that felt like something out of “The King and I.” I cringed at some of the arguably racist portrayals of Africans. Gabe thought they were ok because the play made a point to offend every one. And of course it did because the play is produced by the people who brought us “South Park.” At times, the performance felt so much like the cartoon, I expected one of the chunky main players to announce he was “big boned.”

Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theater, London. Photo by Johann Persson.

On Thursday, Gabe boarded his flight home from Heathrow, half an hour before I got on my plane to Corfu, Greece. I miss him already…..

Yesterday, my sister Kathy sent me a note asking about London, and signed off with some relevant commentary:

The London rain is like the Republican Party. It’s in control and really there is nothing we can do about it but hope the weather will change.

Wise words, and one way or another, it will.

6 comments

  1. Gabe came home abuzz with joy for his trip and time with you Kim. He felt “comfy” in Old Blimey. Of course two days is just a sip of the magnum bottle London has to offer. It’s at the top of my Favorite Cities of The World list for many reasons.

    “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
    — Samuel Johnson 1777

    I can’t top that.

  2. So glad you had that special time together with Gabe. ❤️ Hope we can catch up soon. Visiting London is on my list and also Bristol, where my grandparents on my Dad’s side grew up.

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