Iceland, United Kingdom · 3 Days · 10 Moments · May 2017

Zac and Caroline Mind the Gap

14 May 2017

We treated ourselves to a lazy Sunday morning in the Airbnb with a breakfast in bed of English Cheddar and rustic bread from the grocery store. The real culinary treat, however, came at Sunday Afternoon Tea. For this experience, we made our way down to Harrod's, the world-famous department store where you can buy quite literally anything. We sat down and ordered a full tea service, which includes tea sandwiches of smoked salmon, egg and watercress, and roast beef, as well as homemade scones and fresh clotted cream and a choice of Harrods' decadent desserts. We selected a strawberry pistachio mousse cake and a salted caramel croquembouche to share, and I chose a black vanilla tea while Zac went with a classic English breakfast. It was a fantastical spread with the desserts being particularly awe-inspiring--and sweet! We just couldn't manage to finish them, but they were astonishing. Harrod's as a whole was above and beyond expectations--as in £19,000 bottles of wine... -C

13 May 2017

Our long walking day ended with our first foray into London nightlife. We rested up a bit at our AirBnB before heading out to check out the best of Kensington's pub scene. As it turns out, pubs really are a place for food AND drink, so we may have left a bit on the late end. We visited the Goat Tavern first, and enjoyed a delicious batch of fish and chips (when in London...). The next pub we visited was called the Churchill Arms, and was much more lively. Unfortunately, I missed getting pictures of the food or drinks, but I did stumble upon a strange garden in the midst of the second pub on my way to the ladies' room (pictured). As the pub scene winds down around midnight, we found ourselves in the middle of Kensington with little to do. We were still up for a night out, but Kensington is a mighty posh neighborhood as the Brits say, meaning that nothing was open. Zac managed to find all of one bar open past 12:30 with an odd tiki theme. Strange, but it made for fun dancing! -C
The walking tour continued along the Thames as we visited the Tate Modern gallery, crossed the Millenium Footbridge to St. Paul's Cathedral (did not feed any birds), wandered down to Tower Bridge, then doubled back to Trafalgar Square This was followed by a visit to the British museum, a jaunt through Chinatown, and a brief refueling stop at a bubble waffle food truck where we enjoyed a waffle filled with honeycomb ice cream. -C
That monstrous breakfast fueled our brief walking tour of London. We wandered northwest along the Thames, stopping at Westminster abbey (the outside), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the bridge facing the Houses of Parliament for some quick-but-necessary photo ops, and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, which had an interestingly modern touch. We had a grand time, although it looks like you can tell from our faces that we were still a bit tired. -C
The next day began with an eagerly-anticipated full English breakfast (Rivko, this may be less interesting for you 😜). We found possibly the best value in London at the Regency Cafe, a greasy spoon-style diner very casual in atmosphere with British men shouting out orders from the counter. It felt like a very authentic English experience. And the best part?: each of these feasts was just a bit over 6 pounds! A full English breakfast contains bacon, sausage, black pudding (blood sausage), a fried egg, hash browns, beans, toast, and a grilled tomato, just to add some vegetables in. Each meal also came with a coffee. This served as both breakfast and lunch, and we were still barely hungry for dinner. As far as trying new things goes, we both learned that we are fans of beans and toast, although the beans there are nothing like Boston baked beans. We were also pleasantly surprised by the black pudding. We somehow managed to each finish a plate, although to be fair, Zac did help me.-C

12 May 2017

On the way to the Victoria and Albert Museum, we found this large fancy memorial thing. I'm still not sure who it's for but it's pretty nice! The museum was fun and (since it's London) free! The V&A is referred to by some as the "handbag of Great Britain" since it has an unusual collection with little rhyme or reason. Different sections of the museum are organized less often by time period or location, as in most other museums, but by material. We visited frescoes, wrought iron exhibits, and pottery, to name a few. I (Caroline) particularly enjoyed the period and modern glass displays. In the lobby, they also had a piece by Dale Chihuly, one of my favorite artists (pictured). We explored for a few hours and then headed back to crash in bed. After walking almost 14 miles and not sleeping too much, we figured an early night was justified.
After finding the AirBnB and taking a quick but much-needed rest, we hit the pavement again to find some dinner and check out Little Venice. We went into Waitrose (British grocery store) and got some cheese and bread, a salad, and some scotch eggs (basically hard-boiled eggs covered in sausage and breaded). We took out picnic dinner and walked to Little Venice, which is a small series of canals lined on both sides with docked boats and walking/bike paths. We explored a bit and found a bench, where we sat and ate and talked and just enjoyed the canal. We also saw goslings and made friends with a particularly outgoing cat that followed us for several minutes as we walked down the canal.
Walked for a while through Hyde Park and after not-too-much sleep and stopped to get some coffee and sit for a while. We watched dogs chase pigeons, sang back to the parakeets, and made friends with some ducklings! We also went to Kensington Palace and Gardens!
We got into the city after a quick lunch of Pasties from the airport and (since we only had backpacks) started the exploration. We walked from Victoria Station to Buckingham Palace, where we dodged through crowds of tourists to grab a few pictures (Caroline high-fived the angel) and then made a beeline for the park.
Start at the beginning: the Iceland Airport has sinks that are both sinks and hand dryers. They work wonderfully except for when you don't let the suds drain out of the sink before you dry and suds fly everywhere. Otherwise though, brilliant. Otherwise just 2 plane rides with no in-flight entertainment. Go Wow Air!