And now, for the good stuff

Earlier this year Blue Eyes received an email announcing Delta Airlines direct service from Portland to London. He mentioned it to me and I was like, cool! London being one of my favorite cities and all.

He then said, “hey, you wanna go to Wimbledon…” OMG, I squealed with delight. Even the thought of it made me giddy. First, I love love love London. And even though direct flights can be long, once you get on the plane, you’re set. No running through airports trying to make connections. No missed flights. No nights in stopover cities. Second, I LOVE men’s tennis. Oh yeah, I think I’ve mentioned it before. 😉

Right then and there he booked us two first class tickets to London Heathrow Airport for July. He then set about finding us seats in Centre Court Wimbledon on the second Monday of the tournament, also known as Manic Monday. It’s a fantastic day of tennis. There is no play the Sunday before. Monday is the day everyone still in the tournament plays the Round of 16. Another great aspect of Wimbledon tickets is there are not separate day/night matches. Your tickets are good for all matches played in that court on that day.

We ended up inviting our younger son and his high school doubles partner (who now works for us) on the trip. Lucky boys. We boarded the plane on Wednesday, July 4th and arrived London the following morning. The flight was surprisingly restful (in first class 😜), and I was actually able to sleep (according to my Fitbit) for nearly four of the nine hour flight time. A first for me.

London was experiencing a bit of a heat wave, but our lovely hotel room at The Kensington was cool, and beautiful with a lovely soaker tub that we took full advantage of.

We broke the cardinal rule of mastering jet lag though. We fell asleep at about 3pm and napped for four hours. We woke up hungry and decided not to get too adventurous and just eat at the hotel restaurant, Town House. Honestly, it was maybe the best food we had all trip. Blue Eyes ordered the Sole Meunière

And I the Beef Wellington

So very delicious and a great start to an incredibly fun trip.

Friday morning we were up bright and early, ready to tackle the day before the real heat set in.

We met a friend and took a stroll through Kensington Gardens.

Early that afternoon, on the advice of blogger and good friend, TotallyCaroline, we went to afternoon tea at MoCafe.

It was over the top decadent. Once in a lifetime really. So much food we couldn’t begin to eat it all. The sandwiches and mini desserts were all themed Moroccan. Funny enough, we had eaten at Momo on a previous trip with our boys. Of all the restaurants in London. What a strange coincidence.

Everything on the menu above was included, even the scones. The price listed is if you desire MORE scones, on top of everything else listed… wha???

My favorite was the Souk Cherry Tart, but the Rose Muhalabiya was a close second. Everyone else chose the Peach Verbena Saffron Choux as the most delicious. We were barely able to stuff in a few bites of the Blueberry Victoria Sponge and Halva Brownie when they brought out the scones, LAST? We had them boxed up. A really nice aspect of the tea was the lovely patio seating and cold Moroccan mint tea. It was warm even in the shade, but very relaxing.

Above: Walking back to our hotel. Regents Street. Piccadilly.

Saturday morning we headed to Brick Lane for one of Blue Eyes’ favorite sandwiches at Beigel Bake. We had walked so many miles the day before, in high 80’s heat, we decided to Uber over to Brick Lane.

A ride through London takes you by one famous sight after another. Below, across the Thames, is the London Eye.

On Brick Lane the Uber dropped us in front of a cafe called Cereal Killer. I’m not a huge fan of breakfast cereal, but on a less warm day I might be coerced into trying one of their Cereal Chillers. A custard based malted milkshake served in a mini milk churn and topped with cream, cereal, and sauce. Flavor choices: cookies & cream, mint chocolate, peanut butter, frooty, or lucky charms. They even have a cereal bowl called Unicorn Poop. Um, no!

We made our way down the street for Blue Eyes’ salted beef sandwich. Basically corned beef on a big doughy bagel with hot mustard and pickle.

This was to be our street market day because it was Saturday, and I love Portobello Road. Last time we were there it was a quiet midweek day, but my favorite is when the market is in full swing. We were kind of hoping it might be a little quieter than usual because England was playing in a World Cup match that afternoon, but apparently there are lots of people who didn’t give a hoot about the Cup matches. Darn. We stopped in a custom clothier and purchased Blue Eyes a wool winter trench and a lighter weight sports jacket plus a couple accessories. Just as we were about to make our purchase, England scored a goal and the shopkeeper extended us a huge discount. That was cool.

We ate lunch at a cute cafe on Portobello Road called 140 Portobello where I had one of my most favorite dishes, duck confit. Oh my!

Above: duck confit with celeriac apple salad and juniper berry sauce. Divine!

After a little more shopping in Nottinghill, and lots of walking, we hopped The Tube for Carnaby Street (Oxford Circus). Our intention was to do some window shopping and then have dinner at our favorite Korean Fusion restaurant. Despite the very inaccurate assumption on our part that due to the heat and the World Cup, Londoners would be home watching the game, or maybe at their favorite local pub, we still didn’t quite get it as we neared Oxford Street and the crowds just kept building. Hello, it was gay pride day and the parade ran right down Oxford. I have a real knack for being totally clueless and running smack into gay pride parties (please see Paris last year).

Our restaurant was a couple blocks away, so surely it would be nice and quiet over there? Not.a.chance! Every other establishment was a bar, showing the World Cup match with crowds 12-15 people deep, drunk off their asses, I mean arses. And the biggest crowd of all… right in front of our Korean restaurant where they had multiple flat screen TVs set on the match and alcohol was flowing by the liter full. We decided to go sit out the game at a quiet little coffee shop with no television. When I texted my son to come meet us for dinner, and I told him where, he simply wrote: ARE U CRAZY. Apparently he knew what we didn’t. Kids are so smart these days {sarcasm, sorta}.

We did end up eating a delicious dinner, with our son, but were completely exhausted by the entire day. Did I mention it was like 88 Degrees??? Still totally fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Above: Korean bulgogi tacos at Jinjuu, Soho.

The next morning we were off to meet a blogger friend in Wales. I think I’ve mentioned how much I love my blogger friends. 😉

We had reserved space in the first class car leaving London’s Paddington Station. We were looking forward to a quiet, leisurely train ride to the seaside, but when we boarded the train (no reserved seats, just reserved space, supposedly) it was packed already with dozens of people still to board. We quickly sat in the first available two seats together, facing backwards across from another couple at a table for 4. By the time we left the station, this is what the first class car looked like… not sure what the other cars looked like. I can’t imagine they were much better?

A few things we learned about the Great Western trains out of London. Check the online schedules, often, especially on weekends. Our return trip was canceled before we ever arrived our destination. They do a lot of line repair on weekends and communication is poor. Don’t pay for first class. They don’t assign seats. If there are seats, grab them. You can always pay the small upfee later. IF they ever come around and check tickets. They did not check tickets either direction during our trip. Be flexible. Don’t expect first class service, or any service.

The best thing about the day, however, had nothing to do with transportation and everything to do with meeting Owlie and her beautiful family. It was a pleasure both Blue Eyes and I thoroughly enjoyed. A delicious meal prepared by Mr. Owlie, a lovely conversation with little Owlie, and a fun walk to the beach with Owlie’s adorable dog. So much fun!

We did need to get back to London though, because, you know, WIMBLEDON!!!!

We arrived the Wimbledon grounds Monday morning as soon as practical. Things don’t start early at Wimbledon so no need to arrive before about 10:30am.

Above: Centre Court Wimbledon.

Blue Eyes had scheduled us a wonderful multi-course meal at the restaurant at Centre Court. It was really lovely. Matches don’t really begin until about 1:00pm, so there was plenty of time for a leisurely meal.

Cured trout, seared tuna, roasted lamb, and strawberries and cream.

We had amazing seats.

First match: Federer v Mannarino

While at Wimbledon, we had to try the Pimm’s. Alcoholic with lemonade and fresh fruit. Too sweet for me. We took a sip and handed it off to The Peacemaker. Serena Williams in the background.

Serena Williams screaming like only she can. Williams v Rodina

Below: Rafa Nadal during his match with Vesely

Above: of course we had to try the “official” Wimbledon strawberries & cream. Yum.

And a bonus fourth match added to the end of our day (because all the other matches were quick straight setters). Mixed doubles with Scottish player Jamie Murray and Victoria Azarenka from Belarus (one of my favorite ladies players). I honestly can’t remember who they were playing, but it was very entertaining.

It was a glorious day!

On our last full day in London we decided to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at The Victoria & Albert Museum. I had no idea how popular this display is. We arrived the museum and all times were sold out for the day. We were so disappointed. Blue Eyes asked the staff if there was any way we could obtain tickets. They offered us a yearly membership. Each membership allows two guests to every exhibit, whenever you want, so we went for it!

We have seen Frida Kahlo pieces and other exhibits all over the world, but nothing like this.

LA Times Frida Kahlo in London

It was at times informative, at times beautiful, at times melancholy, and at times heartbreaking. She really was an amazing woman.

Technically there was no photography allowed. I may have snapped the above shot quickly from the hall outside the room which contained her iconic and beautifully colored Mexican clothing.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see this unique glimpse into her life, and if I get the chance, I’ll see it again.

After the Museum we headed to Harrod’s Food Hall for our one and only fish & chips meal of the trip.

Below: our Kensington neighborhood.

Above: delicious fish & chips at Harrods. I love me some mushy peas!

Below: gorgeous flowers at Harrods

And finally, sigh, so many chocolates.

It was short, but sweet. I ❤️ London!

31 thoughts on “And now, for the good stuff

  1. Your pictures and commentary are marvelous. Between you and Caroline I have a fair number of specific food places I now need to visit! Great you got to see blogging friends, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! One of the reasons I post about travel is to reminisce and keep a journal of my memories. I was going to start a travel blog, but for now it’s nice to post here about something other than betrayal. TC and I do both love to travel and eat! She’s like a sister I chose because we have a lot in common versus merely parents in common. 🙂 xo

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  2. Frida! What a great delight to get to experience that exhibit. And Serena! If BE is your trip- planner-in-chief, as successful as he is he just may have missed his true calling. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed yourselves!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ironically he lacks confidence in this area. But when he knows I really want or love something, he will get it for me. These days more than ever. It gets better, it really does. Once they gain a little confidence back with us, it’s good. The first couple years for us though, pins & needles. Hang in there! ❤️

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  3. What’s wrong with extra scones????
    Your trip looked so wonderful. You and BE do things in such great style. Some of your pictures made me very nostalgic (fish and chips—haven’t had that since I lived there, and Harrods ♥️). Maybe now that they have that direct flight u can go more often? After all, you got to get your money’s worth out of the V&A membership right? 🤷🏻‍♀️
    Tons of love
    ♥️♥️♥️

    Liked by 2 people

    • It really was wonderful. I hope you are feeling better. I’ve been reading… just you know, I like to write long comments and things have been well, different. I had some surgery. Just in the last couple days really up for sitting and writing. I’ll write about it. Thinking about you. Be well. ❤️

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