Tag Archives: london

Vacation VI: Swag

Last vacation post before we get back to knitting, and my adventures, in trying to turn some hair into a mohawk… I didn’t haul home all that much from the trip. For no real reason, but it did not stop me grabbing a few things at least. There also may have been a boozy theme.

2013-09-02 18.31.37

The Buckingham Palace shot glass to add to the collection. My dad ages ago, gave me a bunch of shot glasses from Florida, and since then I have tried to grab one or two from places I visit. I did not get anything of the kind in Paris, but I got Absinthe. That counts right?

2013-09-02 18.33.27

Right of course it counts. Sorta. The last time I was at the Tower of London I did get a shot glass, and this time I was exploring trying to figure out what to grab. I finally settled on some mixes.

2013-09-02 18.32.13

 

These would be mixes, for Mulled Wine, Spiced Cider, and Whiskey Toddy. Clearly at some point I will need to have a winter party  and mix all these things up into a pile of delicious drinks.  There were even things that had nothing to do with alcohol at all.

2013-09-02 18.43.54 2013-09-02 18.37.44 2013-09-02 18.32.51

Key chains, one of the Rosetta stone, and a red bus key chain. I did have a moment of sadness, that I did not get the Rosetta stone usb, but is was twenty pounds and I could not get behind that, even if it would have been very fitting.  I also got a Stonehenge snow globe, ignoring the temptation to get the mead they sold in the shop.

2013-09-02 18.49.01

 

And lastly I got a few geeky/crafty things. I went to Platform 9 3/4 again, though this time I did not take a picture, there was a line, and everyone was camping up their photos, so it felt like it would be a long wait with the 20 or so people in front of us. Instead we just went to the shop; where I got a magnet, and ticket to the train to Hogwarts.

2013-09-02 18.46.33

At the Imperial War Museum, i got postcards of the knitting print that caught my attention. And that was everything I bought to take home. Barely anything at all. I do keep finding maps and guides everywhere, but that happens.

 

Vacation V: Food, Drink, & Tea

Not every meal was something memorable, for no other reason than sometimes one just needed sustenance, and every breakfast at the hotel looked pretty much the same. But tea. We did three afternoon teas and each was different, and good in their own way.

2013-08-30 09.58.55-2

You all saw Paris’ breakfast in the Paris post, and this was breakfast a random day in the hotel.  Breakfast was pretty much this all the days in London with random switches for eggs over easy, poached eggs, with the addition of toast on some occasions.  It was a good fortifying meal for what we were doing all these days. Lots and lots of museums, sites, and general running around.

Lunch and dinner were pretty normal meals, when I ate them. But there were drinks. All kinds of drinks.

IMG_2482   IMG_2897  IMG_3036  IMG_2480

Cocktail, beer, cider, and more cocktails.  The last was a Jam jar, which was a cocktail mixed in a small jam jar with a couple spoonfuls of various jam flavors. We may have tried all the flavors before the night was over.

IMG_2953

Now let’s get to  the fun. Afternoon tea. This was my third trip to London and I had never actually done tea. I don’t know if the idea would have occurred to me. Well my sister planned ahead and we had 3 different teas planned; CocoMaya, The Lanesborough @ St. Regis, and Bea Bloomsbury.

IMG_2893

The first at CocoMaya was technically a latte, and scone. But I leaned a very important lesson, I like the clotted cream and jam. I  hadn’t expected that to happen, so I was much more on board for the rest of the teas after that.  Which was handy as the next tea was extra fancy.

IMG_2950

Thursday afternoon we headed over to tea. I was already feeling less than stellar, as this was the same day as our first visit to the British Museum where I managed to make a weak wandering of the first floor before, sitting in the cafe until my sister was done. I got the lemongrass ginger tea, to hopefully help. It was good, it wasn’t up for fighting my plague.

IMG_2948 IMG_2952  IMG_2954

The food and tea was great, and they had the “terrible” habit of offering to refill every tray as we finished them. It was tasty and enjoyable, and I wished I felt better, but it was a great tea.  Saturday was our last tea.

IMG_3144 IMG_3136 IMG_3133

Tea at Bea’s near St. Paul’s.  They even had an entire gluten free set for a friend who could not have gluten. the chocolate cupcake is actually gluten free,  she also got a Pavlova, and a meat and cheese plate. I had a moment of ‘hey I want gluten free if it that’s good.’  Now I want a regular stash of clotted cream, scones and jam. Well I have jam, as a birthday gift, I suppose I just have to make scones.

Vacation IV: Sites & Locations

It wasn’t just Museums covered on the trip either. There were also all the places we visited. Palaces, Cathedrals, Towers, henges, King’s Cross, and a zoo. All good fun and a good time.  So where did I go? The list is below.

IMG_2624

  1. Woodhenge
  2. Stonehenge
  3. Salisbury Cathedral
  4. Tower of London
  5. Buckingham Palace
  6. St Paul’s Cathedral
  7. Platform 9 3/4
  8. Covent Garden
  9. London Bridge / The Monument
  10. London Zoo (not quite a museum…so we’ll stick this here)

IMG_2693

I honestly can say even with getting sick and slowing down near the end of the week I had no idea that there was so much we had done. I guess breaking it to a couple things each day worked some mental magic.

IMG_2654

This is my kind of vacation, seeing people, places, and things, that I wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. I feel like if I ever get around to having a Staycation in NYC I will be stomping through Museum Mile and going to the Met as if I haven’t been dozens of times before.

IMG_3145

 

Are there sites and locations we didn’t get to? Cardiff comes to mind. As well as Bath, but getting to Stonehenge on visit number three was an achievement. And the first trip where I actually made it to the mainland.

IMG_2879

Of course there is more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be…oh wait that’s the Lion King. But there are just a couple posts left, before this goes back to knitting, spinning, and crafting. Food, and my small haul.

Vacation III: Museums

My sister and I both love museums and we went to quite a few on this trip.  And by quite a few I mean a whole lot. There was a spreadsheet involved, it was great!

IMG_2962

So how many museums is a lot?

  1. Science Museum
  2. Museum of Natural History
  3. Transport Museum
  4. Victoria and Albert Museum
  5. National Gallery
  6. British Museum x2
  7. Imperial War Museum
  8. Sherlock Holmes Museum
  9. Museum Of London

2013-08-24 15.24.28

Okay apparently a lot is 9. Not too bad 10 if you count Paris. And when you add in the sites and locations we visited in the next post, we were a busy pair. And we also had to get places. while the Science Museum, and the Museum of Natural history were right next to each other, Imperial War and Sherlock Holmes were farther apart but also done on the same day.

2013-08-30 14.52.50

Which were  my favorites? Well I’m always going to have a warm spot in my heart for the Transport Museum, and we didn’t just go to the British Museum twice because its so big. It’s also because it’s awesome.  The Museum of London was fun and catered to my geeky side with a Radio Times display.

2013-08-30 17.38.59-1

Granted it wasn’t the only one, when you have Rosetta stones, knitting displays, gods, monsters, dinosaurs, art, dragons, tanks, trains, and planes. There is ver y little you could do to displease me other than epic lines and, being closed.

2013-08-31 13.50.50

I had a lot of fun on the museum side of the trip and probably could spend a few more days in the British Museum and a few others that didn’t make the list.

IMG_2931   IMG_3048 IMG_3078

Traveling Knitter

My sister and I have been discussing going on vacation during the summer together since the fall. On Sunday, we met and booked a flight for the last week of August. Where are we going? London with a day trip in Paris.

 

100_1194

 

I have as readers may remember, been to London twice. My sister has never been and neither one of us has ever been to Paris.  So I have just over a month to figure out some off the beaten path things to do in London. Though my sister has said she would be happy spending days wandering the British Museum and The Tower of London.

 

So now comes the work of:

  • Booking a hotel
  • Booking a train to Paris
  • Planning Paris (right now we have Louvre and food, its a short list)
  • Having a vague outline of the trip
  • Gathering friends for meals/drinks
  • Picking museums
  • Something Dr. Who has to be happening for the 50th around this time right?
  • Picking clothes and packing
  • Picking travel projects
  • Do I yarn store or don’t I yarn store? Loop was very nice last time…

DSCN4341

Lots of work still to be done. But we have over a month. And of course I am always looking for recommendations.  Especially on where to eat/drink, you put my sister and I together and we become massive foodies.

London Day 5: Bonus Round

So after saving the world, from Wizard Ninja Aliens, I unlocked a bonus round London Day: 5. Unplanned and great fun.  We decided to head to Camden Town.  With the very complicated plan of walking around, and seeing and eating things. The last time I was in London I think I went to the Camden Markets 3 or four times, I got a dress and my dear dear Villain coat.  A black leather trench coat with black and red fabric lining.  It has been my loyal companion over the last few winters.

 

Whenever I describe Camden and more importantly the Camden Markets I tend to describe it as if St. Mark’s exploded, likely while consuming a few street fairs and and food trucks.  Aisle after aisle of food, clothing, jewelry, rugs, housewares and just about everything.

And art, one can not forget the art that was everywhere, built into the architecture, being sold, being made, you could get lost here repeatedly. And that’s not even taking into account the shops on the main street.

Cyberdog, was a shop in the Market. Pictures were not allowed inside, but I think the entrance gives you an idea. Add GoGo dancers, music, and lots of glowing clothing, and you will wonder if you landed in a loft rave circa 2001.

We found a Brazilian place for lunch and took a break from wandering and shopping. I may have made off with a 50’s style bright red halter dress with pockets!

That night I met my host at The World’s End in Finsbury Park for dinner drinks and an acoustic show which was a fun way to end the night and my trip.  And my only plate of fish and chips the entire trip. And a pint or two of Strongbow.

London Day 4: Wizards, Aliens, and Ninjas

Saturday was a day with just a few pictures. Mostly because there was so much going on. See the title. I mean really, when you have wizards dueling Ninjas on the South bank and Aliens invading on the North bank you get busy.

Really.

No?

Not even a little?

Fine.

There were totally wizards and aliens though. Really. My Saturday started off with the sound of chirping birds and a groan of  “no alcohol for at least 24hrs.” I think I made it 5hrs. Whistles, hair of the dog  and all that or the bear that came up to my room to visit and got me moving slowly.

Who can say no to that face? So I was awake and moving by 7am. No I have no idea why, I don’t do such a thing when I am at home. I suppose it’s better then when I’m at DragonCon and wake at 6am. Why body why? I started slowly moving around, checking on the troops, no one but the friend that wasn’t with me Friday answered by 10am.  We made plans to meet and I shambled my way with the aid of my host to  Forbidden Planet.

 

My goal:

 

Achievement unlocked once back in NYC.

And of course that was all I bought in a geeky superstore. No really.

Before we actually set foot in Forbidden Planet,  we made our way, across the street for breakfast/brunch why? Because it was there, and I was little more than death warmed over at this point. My companion swears I became more and more human as the meal wore on, I’ll take his word for it, I think I made a few grunting sounds between inhaling my breakfast.

We headed into Forbidden Planet and I am sure I may have stopped dead upon entering wondering what section to go to first? Wizards? Timelords? Aliens? Plumbers? Zombies? Ninjas? Heroes? See I told you I was’t lying.

Much, Much, MUCH, later with a lighter wallet and a loaded bag of things, including, comic books, a dalek victory cover for the iPad, die cast dalek and Tardis, plush Dalek,  LL&P magnet, Deathly Hallows key chain, and I’m sure more I’m forgetting, I made my way out of the store and wandered off.  This fellow was outside the Starbucks I stopped into hanging out with their guitar playing owner.

There may have been kitty in a scarf squee as we walked past them again on our way to South Bank.  There may have been a book sale, and cocktails, while browsing the tables filled with titles. I of course did not buy any books to load into my backpack (fine but only 2).

There was walking, chatting, walking, bridge crossing, chatting, and I got a robo-call from Delta.  I’m sure if I was paying for a hotel room or if my job was less understanding I would have been more upset.  I had been getting a call from an 800 number throughout the day, regularly missing it because no matter the setting I only noticed the blackberry I was using ringing if it was in my hand.

We had made it to the North Bank before I finally answered. “This is Delta Airlines letting you know your flight DL… has been cancelled.”  *cue moment of panic * “We have booked you on flight DL… leaving Monday at 12:30pm. ”  I blinked, had a moment of Darn I could have gone to Cardiff!  followed by one more day in London! Woo!

We continued on our journey,  heading to meet friends for dinner, where we flipped a coin and chose a Chinese restaurant.  The portions were enormous but tasty.  We followed that up with drinks, and then I had the surreal experience of riding in what by all rights should be the driver’s seat on the way home.

London Day 3: Rosetta Stone

 

This was a very good moment.  Made me giddy, and remember the kid who decided to try and teach herself coptic. Something that would not have been possible if not for this baby.

My Friday got off to a later start than I had originally planned. I had breakfast, and checked out by a little after 12 instead of 10 for example. Then headed over to my friend J’s  place who was thankfully working from home.  We met for lunch, and I dropped off my backpack. Met his pet bear (some would call it a dog), he was amazingly friendly so all was well.

Here’s a very fuzzy picture of said bear.

He tended to flop down at the bottom of the stairs, which left a lot of balancing and stepping over him. After getting settled I headed back out to the museum.  Below is the actual stone behind glass and things, the other is just a touchable model.

So my friend M met me  together we started a whirlwind tour. While we were at the museum and much like like a recent visit to the Met we went back and forth playing tour guide with each other and discussing childhood dreams of being Indy, learning foreign languages, and the like.  We had plans to meet friends a little after 5 so he and I did a quick tour.  I’m sure  over two hours in the Museum is long enough for some but it was a fun go around. And I likely would have stayed ages even with the crowds, oh the crowds.

We were very happy when we reached the room with all the clocks they were staggered, and only one went off two minutes later when it was actually5.

And you know things like an entire temple in the museum and the sheer volume of, things countries want back that were in the museum.  So many artifacts so little time.  There was even a display of the medals for the upcoming Olympic Games.

The British Museum is clearly a place I will have to visit a few dozen more times. I suppose that means going back to London… such a hardship really.

              

London Day 2c: Transport, Trains, and Travel

After a short break from coming down, with something, that had me fading  Thursday and gone to that place full of blankets, pajamas, and cat petting Friday. I am back, mostly okay and wishing I had brought spinning so I could go to the spin in tonight. And we are still on day two. I did a lot of things on that Thursday.

The London Transport Museum, this was one of the places like the British Museum where I wondered how on Earth I hadn’t been to it the last time I was in London.  I love love love the New York Transit Museum; it’s built into a train station people what’s not to love.  As someone who eyes my  driver’s licence with a high degree of skepticism, public transportation has been a part of and will likely always be a part of my life.

Suddenly all those tales of crazy bus drivers make so much more sense.  Maybe I’ll just stick to the train. That has to be completely safe, I’ve heard they can’t climb stairs.

Hmm.

Sad that I was missing out on the Doctor Who Convention while being in the right country? Whatever gave you that idea? Whistles.  I was talking about transport. There were buses, trains, carriages; you know transportation.

One thing I loved about going through the museum, was that I don’t know if it was because of the time, or in combination of how it it was laid out and the time. I almost never saw other visitors, which helped with the whole dropped back in time and doing something almost clandestine.

They had a mixture of trains and buses that you could enter and take a seat on, sometimes with dummies  in period dress.

And sometimes one just felt safer getting the whole museum experience from outside the train car. And slowly backing towards the next exhibit.

More trains, safer trains.

And not to show a lack of love for the bus, I even had a shot of the stairs to get up to the second level, even perfectly still with no chance of ever moving, I don’t think that was a seat I would ever want to take let alone on a bus with starts and stops.

 

Somehow I spent three hours here without noticing and had to run to the museum shop as they announced they were closing.  I dashed through a last bit of the exhibit, on modern/future transport, then browsed the shop and was indecisive for likely longer, than I should.  Due to a mix of events/schedules/cancellations/and two ships passing silently in the night, etc… Thursday was the only night I had alone.

And after walking to 221b, from my hotel, on Edgeware Road, then wandering the yarn store, and the Transport Museum, with a quick wander of the Royal Opera House, and Covent Garden shops, and a dash to see if I could get into Sweeny Todd last minute (no). I enjoyed some Wagamama Ramen and headed back to the hotel where I indulged in something rare.  Room service.

Half a bottle of wine, and a cheese plate, I was entertained by a few episodes of NCIS (something I have never watched an entire episode before despite knowing a surprisingly  lot about. Mostly because it was something I could identify. I did have a moment of amusement that I was watching the USA channel as I can’t remember the last time I watched the USA Network , but one does not = the other.

London Day 2b: Yarn, Yarn, and some Yarn

After leaving 221b, and more importantly leaving the gift shop, I hopped onto the tube where I headed over to the Angel Station and Loop.

Loop was one of the yarn stores that I wanted to visit, after the damage I did there it was the only yarn store I visited. I was “good” and only purchased 3 skeins of yarn, some buttons, and some knit pro needle tips which I hope will fit on my Knit Picks interchangeable set.

20120329-131654.jpg

And this is the reason I fell into trouble the upstairs of this lovely yarn shop was covered in Wollmeise. All sorts of colors and weights. I stayed away from the lace as I tend to find I don’t do much in lace weight.

20120329-131706.jpg

Each color had its own area/section of shelves and I worked very hard to narrow myself down to two skeins.

20120329-131721.jpg

Then I quickly made my way back downstairs before I could change my mind.

20120329-131735.jpg

I was sad to learn once back in my hotel room that night in Pajamas, that they actually had a Thursday night knit night.