Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 8 UK London

I am still flying from yesterday. Not much is going to top those memories. We arrived in London late morning and of course could not check into our hotel. Weather is the norm... not that I am getting use to it, but I guess resignation has set in. We decide to go to The Victoria and Albert Museum via the Underground. We are hoping the weather is better tomorrow and we can go to Kew Gardens... if not, we will go to the Tate. The V&A have a special exhibit called "The Cult of Beauty", The Aesthetic Movement of 1860-1900. This would be better known as Art for Art's Sake and would include Rosesetti, Whistler, Leighton, Burne-Jones, and of course William Morris, just to name a few. They would take art in a totally new direction. The entrance to the museum has a gorgeous Chihuly chandelier. They didn't allow photography in the exhibit, sorry.  I can only do museums in short spurts... the floors are too hard on my knees and back. Guess I am going to have to come back for another visit. I would like to see more of it.
The weather improved and we decided to walk back to our hotel which was a few blocks from Buckingham Palace... we passed it on the way in and it was very crowded. I believe the changing of the guard was taking place as we drove by. Since we both had already done that eons ago, we were steering clear. I decided that this was a good opportunity for High Tea... we tried to get a reservation at Claridges but it turns out you need those months in advance. We settled for Harrods. Of course we had to wander through a bit and fresh off a new grand baby we headed towards the children's department.  They had really nice stuff, but, OH,  the sticker shock. One outfit would have set us back $150... and that wasn't even the expensive ones! Sorry Will..... We did find some cute stuff animals though..... and maybe you will see them one day (they are in Ned's luggage which is currently lost). High Tea is an experience... it really is a misnomer. It is a full meal in itself. There were cucumber sandwiches, egg and watercress sandwiches, salmon and cream cheese sandwiches... all with the crusts cut off. There were scones with clotted cream and jams, and some pastries, all of which were presented on a 3 tiered serving piece. And of course you had your choice of teas. While we were enjoying this sumptuous repast, we were treated to an impromptu piano concert by a child... no I am not kidding. I have no idea who he was but they unhooked the baby grand player piano and this kid sat down and just played. Amazing. I bet they didn't get that at Claridges!

After stuffing ourselves, we needed that walk back to the hotel. I enjoyed the window shopping. Normally these days when I travel, I tend to see the same stores everywhere. It was nice to see new ones although I am sure some of these are just the local equivalent of chain stores. Mixed in were the high end shops as well. I think Ned was happy that I was not in a shopping mood.  We got ourselves settled into our room and relaxed for a bit. We arranged to have dinner with a Quilt Art list member who I had also taken a Carol Soderlund dye class with a few years back. Sue Sanderson saw my post on the list and offered to spend some time with us. We didn't want to go was raining again, so the hotel recommended a restaurant close by. Who would have thunk that an Indian restaurant could garner a Michelin star rating? If you are in London and enjoy Indian food, try it. It is called Quilon. I can well understand its star rating. The service was impeccable and besides being well presented, the food was excellent. Even more, the chef was very gracious. We were served an appetizer drink that is called Tomato Rasam. It is a thin spicy mixture that is traditionally poured over rice but here they served it as a drink. We asked for the recipe and they gave it to us! They even used dual measurements. We had a lovely evening.


Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

Great you got to connect with Sue.
Hope she is doing well.

Rayna said...

The Indian food in London is wonderful - even in the takeaway places. I love rasam -- I believe it is South Indian...and I have a recipe for it from a friend.

You have the best trips!