It has started to become more winter-like here in good ole London, the weather is cooling off and the Christmas lights are up on most lampposts. Since I haven’t posted in awhile here is a bit of the highlights from the past week.
On Tuesday a flatmate and I got tickets for Matilda the Musical based on the Roald Dahl’s novel. I never read the book, and I do not have many memories of the movie, so it was pretty sweet to see the musical without too many ideas about what to expect.
But first, on the topic of sweet we had to stop for some gelato at La Gelatiera before the show. The photograph is completely blurry and does not do justice for how awesome this shop is. This time I had the honey, rosemary & orange zest gelato which is definitely a new favorite combination. Not quite sure you can go wrong with any of their flavors, though I am still on the lookout for their mulled wine sorbet. Link’s here for the shop.
Back to the show. Woops, I might have snuck a quick picture of the set, not to spoil it, but to show off how cool it was. It was fairly minimalistic with letters everywhere, and set pieces rolling in and out, and emerging from the ground. The music was incredibly witty, and the young children in the show are over the top adorable. I can’t wait for this to open in New York and see if it is as popular and successful as it is here. I also want to see how they adapt the songs that are at times very British. More info here.
And then the next day London decided to be so stereotypically London and rain, but I was able to go to the National Gallery for a bit. I only had time to see the special exhibition at the time, but it was totally worth it. (But I was able to come back this past weekend again, so hey, no loss after all) The exhibition was called “Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present” and it kind of sounds like how it was, but it related to my independent study perfectly. The gallery space was dark, but there were photographs, paintings, and even videos so there was plenty to see and lots of photography history to learn. Perhaps once I have some time I will write a post about my independent project, we will see!
And then that night, because it was the night before Thanksgiving I decided I would make a chocolate pecan pie for the flat. I know many of us Americans would have loved to be home for the holidays, but baking something sweet definitely made the holiday special. Funny thing about baking in student flats while abroad is that you will most likely not have the proper ingredients nor tools (I didn’t have measuring cups to use, ekk!) to make a dish easily. Oh yeah, and temperature conversations are also fun to deal with. I could not find corn syrup, but I used something called golden syrup instead for the recipe. It looked like honey in the can, and was incredibly sweet!
But hey, it worked out in the end. I liked the chocolate in the recipe, but I definitely like the classic pecan pie as well. Proud we all ate the whole thing.And then it was Thanksgiving! I had class in the afternoon, but then I was able to enjoy dinner with good friends. Turkey is hidden on that plate somewhere, but we had delicious cranberry sauce, sweet and roasted potatoes, tons of veggies, and even some ravioli. For dessert there was a choice of several pies, I had pumpkin (DUH) and one with fruit. Of course I missed being at home for Thanksgiving, but there were plenty of laughs going around the table so I think I can say we all had fun.
And the weekend involved lots of sightseeing and eating. We took one of those bus tours, which I have done in the past, but I was able to take tons of pictures and relearn some of the facts of London’s history and architecture. We went right around dusk, which I completely recommend because you get to see the city in both the light and in dark, different in their own ways, and it was a good photographic challenge to take pictures in the shifting light.
One night we went out for pies at the Newman Arms, which has fantastic pies. I had the beef and Guinness pie which came out hot and was served with veggies and potatoes. Usually I like to add malt vinegar to potatoes, but for this meal we had grainy mustard, which might become a new favorite.
We also went to GAIL’s Kitchen, which is a new restaurant from GAIL’S Artisan Bakery which serves tapas style dishes. I did not take many pictures during lunch, but we had a variety of goodies like the steak sandwich, fried herbs, capers, and lemons, and spinach rotolo. Even their bread is delicious. I could probably have every meal here, and be content, but their dessert was literally the best. It was so simple, but they serve freshly baked cookies (you do have to wait for them!) and milk. Made me feel like a youngster, but it was too much fun. And we also had some Indian food over the weekend, which is about time because it has been awhile since I had some good curry. I had a platter which contained all sorts of goodies, but there were tons of potatoes, spinach, lentils, beans, you name it as well as plenty things to dip in like rice and puri.
And if all of that was not enough we also made a day trip out to Kew Gardens, a botanic garden founded in 1759 which today serves as a popular attraction as well as education site for learning about plants, the environment, and conservation. We were able to walk on the grounds, go into the greenhouses, and even took the trolly around the entire property to see the whole thing. There were spiral staircases in the Palm House, so we were able to look down on all of the plants. We even saw some peacocks, which run incredibly fast. Who knew. While you can eat at Kew, we ate in the town near the tube stop which is quite adorable and relaxing compared to central London.
Before returning back to my flat we took advantage of the free river cruise included with the price of the bus tour tickets. I went on a river cruise earlier in the semester, but it is always nice to be on the boats. Plus it was a good excuse to pass by some of my favorite places, like the Tate Modern and the Shard building. Definitely recommend the boat tour, especially if you want to visit the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey/Big Ben/London Eye, which would be ever tourist.
This might go down as my longest post yet, but it was certainly a packed week full of activities. The next few weeks are going to be a bit more boring, with papers to write and projects to complete, but I am going on a short trip this weekend, which I am sure to post about when I get the chance. Ciao.