Two Weekends, One Post

I know I have been a bit delinquent on the last two weekend round ups (July 29-31 and August 5-7), but our weekends were more low-key than the previous two and I didn’t take any pictures. I hope the brief update below with some pictures I took recently while on errands (now that my camera works!) will suffice.

The buildings across the street from our flat.

July 29-31

The notable things about Friday came with dinner–J and I ate at Cote, a Belgian/French (we should probably figure out which…) restaurant in Soho. We split a bottle of merlot (wasn’t my favorite) and shared bread and olives (which apparently were not free) before our entrees. J had the duck and I had the filet mignon. It was pretty delicious and it was nice to sit in front of the big windows that were open to the street outside. J actually stepped through the window onto the street when we left. We then walked home stopping along the way at the Prince Regent (again) for a pint. Pubs on the weekend here get super crowded and people are allowed to spill out onto the sidewalks and sometimes the street to enjoy their drinks and company. This was our first time drinking outside with the crowd. After this we went home and listened to music and chatted the evening away.

One thing that surprised me here was the flowers everywhere

On Saturday we had a leisurely morning before heading off towards Piccadilly and then finally towards St. James Park. We walked around the other half of the park that we didn’t see the first time for a little bit, many people were out having picnics and playing football (soccer) or frisbee. We ended up at Westminster Abbey and paid the £16 each to get in–expensive! but soo worth it. Unfortunately I still didn’t have my camera fixed and cameras are banned on the inside so I have no images for you, but it was amazing. The architecture, especially in the Bath Order Chapel (I think that’s the name…), was beautiful–high vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and delicately carved marble everywhere. It was pretty surreal to be in a place that has so much history and royalty…actually…in …it. It is a shame that some of the writing on the tombs had worn away and that I don’t speak Latin (which much of the inscriptions were written in). My favorite place was Poet’s Corner where many famous authors, poets, composers and other creative beings are buried or memorialized. I’d like to go back there again and “commune” with them. Fortunately, J felt the same way about all the royalty and English history that was in there, so we may do an entire day in Westminster Abbey at some point. After walking home and grabbing dinner we spent the rest of the evening planning a late August vacation to Paris for J’s birthday (which happens to fall on a holiday here).

Oxford Street

On Sunday J and I met an old roommate of mine from my time abroad (Brussels 2008) and her boyfriend for lunch in East London. We met them near Aldgate and they walked with us into a food market area (only open on Sundays). The neighborhood was very Indian/Bangladeshi and the food smelled amazing. We went into an area where there were inside stalls and some seating, after much looking I had Moroccan and J had Ethiopian. Both were extremely delicious and we hope to go back soon (maybe even next weekend!). Afterwards the four of us walked to other Sunday markets–one for flowers, a few for clothing and vegetables. It was a fun afternoon and great for seeing different areas of London. This neighborhood seemed very trendy and creative. I suppose it would be like U st, H st, and maybe a little of Columbia Heights in DC. Not as clean and pretty as some areas of London, but very diverse, brimming with young people and full of hipster/bohemian/musician/creative types. That pretty much sums up that weekend. Like I said, more low-key in terms of tourist visits, but still fun.

Building in Hyde Park

August 5-7

On Friday night after we both finished work (yay! I’m temporarily employed!), we met at J’s office before walking to Jamie Oliver’s italian restaurant in Covent Gardens.  J did a full review (which I endorse) here. After our fabulous dinner we pretty much walked home and hung out for the evening.

Bridge over the Serpentine in Hyde Park

After sleeping in a bit and eating lunch at home we spent much of Saturday afternoon in Hyde Park.  As you know, Hyde Park is a quick walk from where we live and is huge enough to find new places to explore for days.  Honestly, without all the little signs they have, I feel like I’d get lost and starve if left there alone with no map or phone. Well maybe I shouldn’t say that about myself–I’m resourceful! Either way, the point is… big effing park. On this particular visit, an international triathlon  was being held in the park. I thought this was pretty cool for the first 2 hours of our walk, but then it got annoying: too many people and too many blocked off roads/paths/areas.  We did visited the Princess Diana fountain memorial, saw some awesome athletes and walked along the river for quite a bit.  Check out some pictures (also that pretty much sums up Saturday):

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Awesome building in Hyde Park, the nursery?

At least half of Hyde Park looks like this--huge green lawns and paths

This past Sunday was our laziest day in London yet, but it was oh-so-good. We slept in then stayed in bed reading until I-can’t-really-admit-how-late-it-was.  I video chatted with my family, hooray! Then in time for an early dinner we left the flat in search for food. We went to this very small and authentic Iranian restaurant down our street called Patogh. It was delicious, we still have leftovers in the fridge (hmm it is dinner time now…).  We spent the last part of Sunday doing errands, reading, etc. Just because we live in London doesn’t mean we can’t lay around all day.