Aside from Cape Cod, London is most certainly my other happy place. Leaving is never easy, but it helps to know that a plan is in the works to return. We had a very short, but very lovely time here. It felt like coming to a home away from home after leaving Paris & Italy. I love the familiarity of it, but there are always new things to do and see.
We stayed @ the Waldorf Hilton in Covent Garden, which is absolutely one of my favorite parts of London. It reminds me of Quincy Market in Boston but I love that is has a rich history which includes Charles Dickens and so many others frequenting the shops of Covent Garden.
We found an excellent bakery here called Sweetheart, so adorable, and they made the best scone w/ butter and honey I’ve ever eaten and a good cappuccino, too.
On the way back from Covent Garden, we walked past the Theater Royale, the oldest theater in the world and one in my Dickens village.
Next, we took a taxi to Kings Cross Theater to see one of our friend’s, Alan, perform in The Railway Children, apparently a book & a movie that I hadn’t seen or heard of before. While at first, it seemed to be a children’s play, we learned that it was as much an adult play too. It was terrific! Great story and message. Excellent acting.
Afterwards, we hung out a bar on the wharf with Alan and two of the actors from the play, Martin & Adam– very nice men & good conversation. Before long, Charlotte met us w/ their two boys, Louis & Joey, so freakin’ adorable. I loved spending time with the our of them. We ate at a Greek restaurant nearby which was delicious!
The next day, we set out to see Selfridges, the oldest department store and the subject of a television/ PBS show I’ve been watching for the last few years. The very cool surprise is that the theme is Shakespeare Refashioned. The window dressing were a very large part of the show & how appropriate that when I visit they are celebrating Shakespeare’s anniversary. I’m so glad I got the chance to see this theme.
Also appropriately and well planned in advance, we had tickets to see the Shakespeare in Ten Acts exhibit at the British Library. Ever since I’ve been traveling to London, I’ve been trying to get my students there on our off time, but they never want to go. Luckily, our visit to London happened to be when this exhibit was occurring, so it was really a no-brainer. Of course I would go and of course I would love it. They didn’t allow photos, so I bought the commemorative book among other things. Each act was themed: Shakespeare’s beginning, women in Shakespeare, the globe, adaptations … It had original works and those owned by actors of Shakespeare with notes in the margins. It was very interesting, something I wish my students could see. The library is awesome. There is a gallery with original works from many disciplines. It was amazing to see original works written in the hands of the writers. Most notable for me was an original of Nicholas Nickleby written by Dickens.
We met up with Alan & Charlotte & the kids @ Piccadilly Circus what I would compare to our Times’ Square. While waiting for them, Anthony & I had the chance to walk around and see some sights.
After a delicious fish & chips dinner, it was time to say goodbye. It was nice coming to London without students, as much as I love coming with them. I got to see a side of London I hadn’t seen on tour before and will definitely be back on my own time, again, hopefully not too far off in the future.