Monday, January 13, 2014

Take 3 Britain

I always seem to end up in London visiting friends. 2000: visit Carol studying in Sussex. 2010: visit Sharlene working in London. Now: Meet Elaine to settle into her new job.

Second leg of the trip: Six days in England … what to do? The only thing on my London to-do list is to help find Elaine a flat. Isn’t that on eveyrone’s site-seeing list? Really, I’m a bad tourist in London. I probably haven't seen half the sites. Oh well. I just enjoy being back in a legit city, riding the tube and being amongst the people.

Day 6: Bum around London eating gerkins

Our first day in town, we look at a flat and stop at a bunch of real estate agent offices .
 Exploring Islington, Elaine's new hood

Day 7: Lumos!

While Elaine works the next 3 days, I explore outside town solo. I trek 30 minutes north of London to Warner Brother Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour.

My first taste of butterbeer!
The Hogwarts Castle Model in snow
I was in Harry-Potter craziness for 5 hours! I saw sets, props, costumes including Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, Great Hall, chess pieces, Diagon Alley and much more. A must for HP fans!

Walking across the Millenium Bridge 
from the Tate Modern to SoHo to meet Elaine after her first day of work
Day 8: Roman Bath

It took all my will power to stay in England and not fly off somewhere (ie. Berlin, Paris …). Of course I can’t stay put in London for 6 days. I planned on Bath and Oxford. The morning of, I decided to make it an overnight trip.

Scenic (and expensive) train ride to Bath
The Canal at Bath
Roman Baths
The museum put together for these grounds were quite impressive. As an added treat, Bill Bryson, one of my fave authors, did some audio commentaries for this museum. Overall, cute town to stroll around.

Bath Abbey. 
Not too shabby.

Day 9: Back to School at Oxford?

No thanks. No more school for me, unless it's Hogwarts. There was huge flooding so I wasn’t sure if I would make it. But I did get 5 short hours here. What to do? My friends, Lynn and Ian, both studied here so they planned my perfect agenda. Thanks!!  

Pitt Rivers Museum

So bizarre and totally up my alley. The “Treatment for the Dead” display was next to “Intricate Woven Baskets” followed by weapons galore. Who wouldn’t love this? Thanks for the suggestion, Ian!

Christ Church College
 Where lots of Harry Potter was filmed. Imagine going to school here.

The Great Hall at Christ Church
(The one used for Harry Potter!) Ian had to wear his robe to dinner and exams. Wicked.
Courtyard at Christ Church College
Streets of Oxford: College Town

I also visited the Bodleian Library, part of Univ of Oxford where Lynn studied. It had amazing historical manuscripts and more HP scenes. Unfortunately no pics were allowed.

I really love this bustling college town which is no surprise. I wish I more time to wander and chill in the cafes, but back to London I go.

Paddington, London: 
one of the many train stations I went through (I even saw Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross)

Day 10: The London Flat Hunt Commences

Elaine and I see 6 flats in 2 hours. We get driven in a car, walk around and even pass by the Arsenal stadium

The winner! Elaine’s soon-to-be flat in Islington by the canals

Borough Market
We unexpectedly run into this bustling market under the bridge. So much yummy food!

London Bridge
Same pic taken 13 years ago, but this time sans bus in background thanks to digital cameras

Day 11: Roaming the Town

Columbia Road Flower Market in Shoreditch 
Another rec from Sharlene. Shoreditch reminds me of Williamsburg – hipster place that has arrived.

Annual Ice Festival at Canary Wharf
Great winter activity with all the locals and chainsaws 'n all

Then we hit up the National Portrait Gallery and have some homey Italian food and one last drink in this city together.

London goals accomplished:
Find Elaine a flat
Eat fish ‘n chips and Indian food (first time in UK!)
Frequent pubs (3x)

London and around was fantastic. I really like London as it has lots of energy and similarities to NYC. Being away from NYC, I think this trip I appreciated London even more. I’m glad we got to be here together for Elaine’s first week to meet up for good dinners, drink in the pubs, run errands and explore London. Elaine, thanks for letting me crash with you! You’re going to have a great time! Maybe I’ll be back for another visit to check out that apt?

But for now, I’m off to explore a new corner of Europe…


Jan said...

A place that served BOTH fish 'n chips AND Indian food - amazing.

Angela said...

Oh. They were actually at different places. A good break from meat pies. Remind you of your England days? :)