This is the first of two London blog posts. The second will occur in about 2 weeks time when we are leaving here again on 19/20 July.
Day 1: Village East. Just a few doors away from our hotel is a fantastic little restaurant by the name of Village East. while I was out doing a short 6.5km run along the Thames, mum was responsible for finding our dining experience, and it did not disappoint. We ordered 3 items from the entrees to share between the two of us (my favourite way of dining out): venison and shredded beetroot, soft shell crab, and a lovely green salad. I am a huge beetroot addict, and was delighted by the creamy sweet nature of the shredded beetroot that accompanied the rare venison. It was a well matched pairing, and left me wanting to eat more of it, but satisfied enough that I did not need more.
Day 2: Strawberries and cream on court 1 at Wimbledon on the day of the women’s finals. I love the way that at experience and the emotion of an event can affect the way you enjoy food. It is summer over here, so naturally the strawberries were beautiful, but to be at Wimbledon – a life long dream. I am sure it enhanced the flavours. And then there was the pre-marathon dinner in the west bend before seeing War Horse. Great British pubs are a dime a dozen here, so there was never a problem to find a good meal. Mum had the hunters chicken, which was kind of like a chicken Parma with no breadcrumbs, and baked instead of fried. I usual one of the usual pre-marathon meals: lasagne with a green salad and a little garlic bread. Very very good. And great value too.
Day 3: Nibbles at the Swan at The Globe. Next to Shakespeare’s Globe on Southbank is a fantastic bar/restaurant called the Swan. This was the venue for a social catchup with some dear friends of mine that I have known for over 20 years. The menu for the Swan is below. We ordered the tapas plate and the cheese board, which were just wonderful. The cheese board consisted of a goats cheese, a blue and a and a riper rich yellow cheese. The blue cheese was served on a rich fruit cake, which was the perfect accompaniment. There weren’t quite enough crackers to go with the cheese and dips, so we had to request some extras. The tapas plate consisted of a bowl of hummus with radishes, thin Hungarian salami sticks, fennel and fennel salad, salmon pâté, and fruit yoghurt (a random addition), and some crackers and bread. Other than half a ham and cheese croissant, this was the first thing I had eaten after my 45km run, so everything tasted incredible! It is interesting how when the body is deprived of nutrients for some time, it finds almost anything to be the best meal in the world.
Day 1: London is like a living postcard. I have been here many times over the years, and still cannot help but smile when I see sights such as the Tower Bridge, Tower of London or Big Ben. It was such a delight to see that same look of wonder and thrill on mum’s face. As we could not check into our hotel room until the afternoon, we had many hours to go exploring. Our hotel is just near Tower Bridge Road, so it was not hard to decide that we should go there and then check out the Tower of London. We tagged along with a yeoman tour of the Tower, which was fantastic. Extremely entertaining and informative. Happily we were both able to obtain discount tickets into the Tower, as they recognised international student and senior citizen cards. Yay!
Day 2: Wimbledon. I was beside myself with excitement to go to Wimbledon. I love seeing the tennis love and have been to the Australian Open many times, as well as watched many a grand slam on the tv. Mum and I headed out there at the start of the day so that we could be there to sit on the grass and see some of the first matches of the day. We joined The Queue and waited in line to try to obtain ground passes. It was the women’s finals day, so we were crossing our fingers that we would be able to get in. Get in – we managed to score tickets to court 1 and watched some of the girls final. Never in a million years would I have expected to see a final of any sort at Wimbledon, and for a pittance. I know mum was similarly overwhelmed by the experience.
Day 3: it is all about the run, so please scroll down to read about that. We also caught up with my very dear friends Ali and Winni-Mae at the Swan.
Run #1. On the second evening I took off for a short 6.9k along the Thames. It is a route I know well, having stayed close to the river many times on visiting London. From the hotel I took off down Tower Bridge Road, down to the Thames, west along the Thames towards the Tate Modern. Along the way I passed Shakespeare’s Globe also, a place I have visited a few times now. I highly recommend seeing a show there if you are in town, especially a Shakespearean comedy. With summer in full swing here, everyone was out to play. Great for atmosphere, but crap for trying to run. Regardless, it was a gorgeous evening for a run, and I hope you like some of the pictures I took below.
Run #2: The London Marathon. Well, not really. It was my marathon. My running schedule had me doing a 42.2km run in London today. Knowing it was going to be pretty warm (28degrees C), I thought it was best to make sure I was finished my lunchtime. So I was up at around 5:30 am, and after breakfast and stretching I headed out. I had initially planned to do two 21 km loops, but when I was out there I changed my mind. The route I ended up running saw me head down Tower Bridge Road, cross the bridge, run along the northern side of the Thames (passing the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminister Abbey, and the Tate), until I passed Vauxhaul Bridge, which I ran past for an other couple of kms before coming back and crossing the Thames. Once across on the southern side, I followed the river until I reached Tower Bridge again (passing the Tate modern and Shakespeare’s Globe). I had originally planned to either do the same loop again or turn around and do it in reverse, but I was inspired to just keep heading east and see where that took me. It ended up taking me past Greenwich! I was delighted to follow the Thames Path along its zigzag path through narrow lane ways and private gardens as well as along the waterfront. One of the highlights was seeing the magnificent buildings in Greenwich as well as the Cutty Sark. By the time I finally returned, by distractions and enjoyment of the run had added a couple of extra kilometres onto it, and I ended up running 45.07 kms in 4:35:40.
Next stop: Brussels!