16 June 2009

The Brocks visit London!

Thursday, 11 June
Shortly after my parents left, Andrew’s parents finally came to London, too! They stayed up near Gloucester Road tube station, near the Hereford Arms, one of our favourite pubs. It was the area where Andrew and I spent our first month in London, when we were in PwC corporate housing. The first day they arrived, there was (yet another) tube strike happening, our third in our three years in London. Andrew took the StreetCar and picked them up at the airport. We dropped off their luggage at our flat because it was still too early for them to check in to their hotel, and we gave them the dime tour of our flat before heading out for the day.

Because of the tube strike, it was going to be awful trying to get around, so we decided to get out of London see Windsor Castle for the day instead. I took the day off work that day so that I could go, too. When we got to Windsor, we met our dear friend Nigel for lunch. He lives nearby and is a walking encyclopaedia of British history. After lunch at the pub, we sauntered up to the castle and wandered around, taking our time looking at the State Rooms and the grounds.

At the end of the day, we took the train back to London and grabbed the luggage from our flat and took a cab to their hotel where they got checked in and dropped their luggage, then we walked over to the Hereford Arms for dinner and drinks. By the time we finished dinner, the tube strike thankfully had ended, and Andrew and I were able to get home easily!

Friday, 12 June
The next day, I had to work, but Andrew took off to wander around London with his parents. He took them up to the Tower of London and on over to Tower Bridge. They found a pub called the Hung, Drawn and Quartered nearby where they had lunch before heading over to Fleet Street and my old stomping grounds, the Royal Courts of Justice and the grand entrance to the City of London Square Mile. From there, they went to Covent Garden and saw the market before meeting me for drinks at the Windsor Castle pub before heading to dinner at the Churchill Arms (mmmm… Thai food…).

Saturday, 13 June
Saturday morning we got up early and met Andrew’s parents and took them to Portobello Road Market. We wandered around the market for a while; Andrew’s parents bought an antique clock, and Andrew and I bought some silver candlesticks we’d been eyeing for two years. After we made our purchases, we went to the White Horse in Parson’s Green for lunch. We had Bloody Marys and pints of beer with fresh burgers hot off the grill, and then hopped on a bus down the King’s Road, stopping at a couple of stores along the way. We showed the Brocks Sloane Square, our old tube stop, and then went and had drinks at the Oriole, a brasserie in Sloane Square. After drinks, we wandered up Sloane Street and went into Hackett and a couple of other stores before parting ways to go back to our respective places and nap before meeting for dinner later. We took them to dinner on Brick Lane; we went to my favourite Indian restaurant, the name of which I can never remember but instantly recognise by the gigantic mural of Princess Diana. After dinner, we went on a wild search for the best bagel place so that I could a bagel for the morning before heading back home.

Sunday, 14 June
Sunday morning we took another day trip outside of London. We took a train to the city of Dover, where the white cliffs loom over the sea. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day, and we really enjoyed wandering around the city before heading up to the cliffs.

The views from the cliffs were amazing…

When we were getting ready to head back down, we passed through a gate, and attached to the gate was piece of wood on which someone had written with chalk “France” and an arrow pointing to the sea, and “Fulham” with an arrow pointing the opposite direction. Andrew and I got a kick out of it since we live in Fulham.

We took a cab back to the train station, and realised that we had missed the train we wanted to catch and would have a bit of a wait before the next one, so we asked the cabbie if he could recommend a pub in which we could maybe have some lunch or just a pint. “No,” he answered. “Most of the pubs around these parts won’t be to your liking; I imagine,” he continued. We all sat in a bit of an uncomfortable silence then and giggled about it later. Despite his advice, we decided to try our luck at the sketchy looking pub directly across the street from the station. There were several men and a couple of women standing around outside, and loud music pouring out the front door. Many of the men were shirtless and had tattoos covering their arms, chests and backs. We walked quietly past them, into the pub, and Frank, Suzanne and Andrew ordered drinks for us, while I walked out the side door (away from the shady characters out front) and claimed a large picnic table for us while I reapplied some sunscreen. Apparently, while I was outside, Suzanne asked the bartender, who it turned out was the owner, if she could buy a Kronenburg 1664 pint glass from him. He told her she could just have her glass, and she introduced herself to him, and they became fast friends. Later, after they joined me at the picnic table, the owner, who was a toothless Irishman named Phinn, came out with a clean Kronenburg 1664 pint glass for Suzanne, all wrapped up. He chatted with us outside for a minute telling us all about his sister who lives in the States and how he was a boxer growing up. We finished our pints and then got on the train to head to Canterbury, our second destination of the day.

When we got to Canterbury, the first order of business was to find some lunch, and we had lunch in this adorable little square near the cathedral. Afterward, we walked over to the cathedral and all got lost in the sheer beauty of it. Andrew and I had been to the cathedral two years prior with Brad and Jill Beard, but we’d forgotten just how beautiful it was.

Later, we wandered around the city for bit and then headed back to London. When we arrived back at London Victoria station, we all bought Cornish pasties and had them for an early dinner while sitting in the station before Andrew and I headed back home to Fulham, and the Brocks went back to their hotel in Gloucester Road.

Monday, 15 June
On Monday, Andrew and I both had to head back to work, so the Brocks were on their own. They went to Buckingham Palace and saw Big Ben and Parliament and Westminster Abbey. When Andrew and I got off work, we met them at the Hereford Arms again for one last dinner and drinks. We had such a wonderful time with them while they were here, and were sorry to see them leave the next morning to head back home.

1 comment:

Markora said...

Very nice pictures.