|London Mar 10|
Our friends live in Westminster and on the first afternoon we enjoyed a walk past some cute old buildings near the Abbey then through St. James Park. This was followed by some really incredible Indian food from a place called Hot Stuff. The place only seats 25 people or so and you need a reservation, so we got take out. The owner seemed really personable when we went to pick it up. I don't even remember what we ate, but honestly, I'm not sure it matters - everything we tried was great.
The following day we had Mexican food for lunch at a place called Wahaca near Covent Garden, where I also go to meet up with a friend who recently moved to Oxford and my uncle!! The pork pibil is really excellent, but everything I had was good, especially compared to what we can get here. There was an American sitting at the next table with his (I think) British wife (?). I'm not used to interacting with American strangers so I couldn't believe he was taking an interest in things he was overhearing at our table and striking up a conversation about it. He said he was the head of the Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford, so if you ever meet that guy, you can tell him you know the Americans he was talking to at Wahaca. ;)
After lunch we wandered through CHINATOWN! Always one of my favorite places to end up. My Oxford friend is Chinese and helped us order some bubble tea at a really chaotic little bakery. I haven't had that in ages and it was so good. I kind of wish we had an appetite for some more food in Chinatown, but there are only so many mealtimes! We then proceeded to a pub that my uncle found and liked called Waxy O'Connor's. Unfortunately, when we got there we discovered that children are not allowed even in the dead mid-afternoon hours, so our hosts couldn't bring in their baby. :( Kind of a lame rule, but I guess I'm used to Germany where kids seem to be allowed just about anywhere. So, we split up for a few hours and we checked out the pub and caught up with my uncle and friend. The pub is really cool - it's on at least four levels and kind of on a hill, with entrances near the top and bottom! It's like a cave or maze and definitely worth walking through (if you are without children).
The next day we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. (If you like quilting there is some seriously cute fabric for sale in their online gift shop right now!!) I love that the London museums are free (donations encouraged!) so there is no pressure to see everything at once. They have a really pretty room at their cafe, too. My favorite area (of what we saw) featured a lot of modern design and reminded me of some of the design areas in the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. We followed it up with a walk around Harrod's department store's food area, which has a Krispy Kreme!! They weren't making fresh donuts at the time but we got a couple anyway.
In the evenings we ate in and hung out at our friends' lovely apartment, which used to be council housing. Apparently the buildings still have a little stigma about them because of this past, which is great for my friends since the apartment is great with two bathrooms and a really nice kitchen and they were able to get it!
For our last lunch in London we walked through Covent Garden and ate at an Indian food chain that I have sadly forgotten the name of. The food wasn't as good as Hot Stuff but it was much better than in Germany, and they served a nice variety of things for a single meal, which is a nice touch.
I can't wait for my next trip there!!