Monday, January 6, 2014

'Cheerio' From London

My Darling Husband (DH) and I took one of my dream vacations for our 11th anniversary this year -we spent 8 days in London and Paris.  Looking back,  it was a whirlwind of experiences.

We arrived in London on a Saturday morning, dropped the bags off at the hotel in Kensington, freshened up and headed to the famous Portobello Road Market.  I've always wanted to go - ever since seeing the movie Bedknobs & Broomsticks when I was a kid.  I could probably even sing the song from that movie!  Portobello Road wasn't exactly like the movie.  It was crowded, crowded and did I say crowded?  There were so many people, you had to move with the flow of the traffic or cause a serious jam.

Photos of Portobello Road Market, London
This photo of Portobello Road Market is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I didn't really enjoy myself until we popped into a little pub called the Duke of Wellington.  I ate Bangers and Mash and a savored a delish cafe latte.  The interior was charming and as it was almost December 1, everything was decorated for Christmas. It was more fun to sit and sip my latte and watch the people pass by on Portobello Road than to fight the crowds on the street.

After a bit of rest and a bite to eat, we braved the cattle drive (Texas reference) on the street.  After the crowd thinned ever so slightly, I finally began to enjoy myself.  I even saw some street musicians playing steel drums, like in the Disney movie.  My favorite vendors in the market sold furs.  Furs galore!  I desperately wanted to buy a fur hat, but I would probably only be able to wear it once every two years on vacation.  I didn't get to shop the antique stores and stalls because the crowd was just too immense.  Finally, we veered out of the market and walked around the Notting Hill neighborhood.  Beautiful homes.  It was quite fun to imagine the kinds of families that live in these old row houses.

As we walked around Notting Hill, the leaves were changing colors and falling all over the adorable streets.  Next, we took the subway back to the hotel for a break and then headed out to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

I just loved the tour of the theatre!  It is a replica of the original Globe - the first one burned down.  It does have a thatched roof that covers the seating, however, there is a 'yard' in front of the stage that is open to the sky.  This is where the plebians would have stood to watch performances.  According to our tour guide, the show goes on rain or shine.

It was great fun to learn about various aspects of the theater - such as there were no restrooms in Shakespeare's time!  Also, if you were really wealthy, you could pay to have a seat ON the stage.  That seems a little distracting to me, but I guess it was a good source of revenue for the theaters!

By the way, there is a team of actors that continue to perform Shakespeare's plays here, but there were none scheduled for when we were in town.

Next we headed across the Millenium Bridge, a famous footbridge across the River Thames, to the Black Friar's Pub.  DH had read about this pub in our Trip Advisor book and decided he had to check it out.

DH loved the inside of this pub, including the arched ceilings covered in brick.  It was built in 1905 on the site of a Dominican Friary.  The figures you see on the wall in the photo below are of friars.

Drinking pints in a pub in London.  DH just loved it.  As we sipped our beers, listening to other pub-goers' conversations, we realized we were only just beginning this exciting vacation.


  1. Saturday is a bad day to go to notting hill but glad you still had fun!

  2. CSW - you are SO right! I don't know WHAT I was thinking! We had a great time in London!