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July 10, 2014


It is nice just saying I'm in London. Even if I were just sitting here in the hotel lobby doing nothing, it is nice to be in London. I have been reading British mysteries since I was 20 years old starting with Agatha Christie. I have probably watched more British series than most Brits, and surely I drink as much tea. It's just nice to finally be in London. And to order a pot of real English tea.

I'm happily settled into my sweet little hotel room at the Celtic one block from Russell Square which is in Bloomsbury around the corner from the British Museum. It is a central place to be, and a modest place to stay. My room isn't much larger than a dorm room, but it is clean and has every amenity that I need. The people are very accommodating and the breakfasts are ample. My niece, Connie, is just about three blocks away in University dorm rooms.

Yesterday, I flew into Heathrow and took the Express to Paddington Station where Connie met me. We had a bowl of chili and a cider in a station pub then took a taxi to my hotel. We spent the afternoon riding a tour bus around the city (good for me with only three hours sleep on the plane and not yet adjusted to the change of time). Then we returned to Russell Square, had dinner in a crowded neighborhood pub, and walked back to the hotel for a full night's sleep.

This morning I had breakfast and Connie joined me for a coffee. Then, we took off for the British Museum where several government workers were on strike and picketing, and a few exhibits were closed inside. But, most rooms were open, and we spent about four hours meandering until it was time for lunch which we ate across the street in a little outdoor restaurant in Russell Square. Then we hopped a bus over to Trafalgar Square and to the National Portrait Gallery which was just amazingly enjoyable. I felt that I got to meet in person people that I've read about for years. I wish I lived close by so I could hear a Shakespeare play or read an historical novel and run down to the gallery to see what the people actually looked like. About three, we went up to the top floor restaurant and bar where we sat and had tea and cake before touring the more modern part of the museum.

At the end of the day, we hopped the tube into Soho and went to Nopi which Martin and Dani both insisted that I visit. Nopi is one of four restaurants owned by Israeli chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, who has made a big culinary splash with his books "Plenty" and "Jerusalem." I found the latter when I was eating lunch one day at Ciao Thyme and bought it. I had made reservations early that morning and it was well worth the trip. We had a delicious and interesting dinner with creative appetizers (one was Vegetable crudités with a red pepper dip, and the other called a Valdeon cheesecake with pickled beet room, hazelnut and honey). I had the pork chop and Connie ordered the Sea Bass.

After dinner we wandered a bit through Soho streets and then hopped a few buses back to Russell Square and our hotels. I must say that the tubes are fascinating, but I prefer the buses. First, it is amazing to watch how they maneuver through the horribly crowded London streets and second, I enjoy the sights which you miss on the tube. However, I am fascinated by the sheer amount of people that London moves with its efficient transportation system. It boggles the mind.

Tomorrow will be a new day. Since I walked over seven miles today, I trust that I can still walk tomorrow because we are taking a tour of Westminster Abbey in the morning and I'm hoping to find a few stores later in the day. Connie wouldn't mind going back to Nopi, but I have some other restaurant possibilities in mind. I'm also moving my room tomorrow since my little cubby hole has a sink and shower but no loo. They had a cancellation so for two days I'll have my own en suite.

More later. But, here are a few pictures: (By the way, Martin had to delete the response button on my blog -- so you can't post a response -- but you can always email me at marilyn@donel.net.

My Little Hotel in Bloomsbury

My teeny little room

The View from the top floor restaurant in the National Portrait Gallery

Do the Brits still use these????

Soho at Dusk

Posted by Marilyn at July 10, 2014 2:12 PM


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