Well, I woke up much later than I would have preferred to, but when your body demands sleep…you sleep. Woke Smoker up, showered, met the rest of her flatmates and invited them to join Smoker and I for lunch. I wanted to take Smokes to this great little italian pizzeria restaurant in Notting Hill that I had been to a couple of years back with my 2 aunts, mother, and friend, Tina. We had stumbled upon it by chance in 2009 and now would return everytime back in London.
The restaurant is called Portobello Ristorante and its’ address is 7 Ladbroke Rd. Turn right out of Notting Hill Gate tube stop, cross the street and take another right, follow the sidewalk a block or two and it will be on your left hand side. The portions are large so splitting with 1-2 others is a good idea and adding a bottle (or two) of wine is a GREAT idea! I always get pizza when there and love the one with all the sweet peppers! They cook each individual pizza everyone orders together in one length, then cut it in front of you. Also served with exquisite fresh bread and oil, this is a terrific place to eat whether it be on the cheap or, depending on how many bottles of wine and which pizza you choose, moderately priced.
The place was a hit considering the girls loved the pizza – especially for the price! We paid the bill and headed down the street to top off lunch with some gelato. Along the way we stopped in little shops that sell inexpensive clothing, handbags, and accessories. Most of these shops generally carry the same merchandise you would find in markets like Camden or parts of Portobello. After arriving at the gelato shop, we spent the next 15 minutes taste testing and asking the poor guy behind the counter, Pedro, for a sample in every flavor. Pedro was a good sport though, eventually suggesting mixtures of gelato to try. No matter what we all chose, it was delicious. We walked around a bit more, then back to the flat for a bit before going out that night.
I suggested to Smoker we go to a pub in Chelsea called The Pig’s Ear. I had been there once before and remember it being packed – with good-looking guys who could hold a conversation on a topic other than booze and sports. She was in! We took the tube to Sloane Square and walked the ways down to Old Church St, took a left, and 2 blocks down to the right we entered the pub! It wasn’t extremely crowded yet; however, there were no tables to sit so we ended up standing a while until we could snatch a small one by the door. Brendan came to meet me after he got off work and his new flatmate, Andrew joined us. Andrew had just arrived in London a few days before (he and Brendan knew each other from back home in Aus). We spent the rest of the time drinking tasty Guinness, laughing, and getting to know one another.
I left Brendo and Andrew around 10 and wanted to go see Jonny, who lives in the most posh apartments I have ever seen right on the river Thames off Vauxhall stop – St. George Wharf. Jonny and I became acquainted a couple of years back. When I had arrived in London for my first time, I was out shopping (of course) that first week at Primark. I was standing and waiting in the longest line every for the dressing room (something I would never do again! Lesson learned – wear layers to Primark and try on wherever you can find an inch of space and a mirror!) when I started chatting with the girl next to me, Michelle. I was excitedly asking her about the best places to go, what to do, and what to see. Being incredibly sweet, she suggested I add her brother on Facebook and ask him, seeing as he was more my age and supposedly knew all the great hot-spots in London. Enter Jonny! Michelle was right. Jonny knew tons of great places and little secrets to them. We had hoped to meet up some time while I was there in 2009 but it didn’t happen. He traveled to Hawaii for a bit for holiday and I was traveling the rest of Europe. We kept in touch though even after I returned to the states, throughout the year. When I told him I was coming to London back in summer 2010, he informed me he was going to be sailing in Croatia for a while! I would soon find out that this man travels like it is his job to all of these amazing places. I find myself constantly jealous of his itinerary!!! Anyways – he flew back from Croatia to finally meet me. We met for drinks at one of the restaurants beneath his flat, hit it off, and he offered to show me his apartment. After looking at the outside of this place, there was no way I was going to pass up seeing the inside! It did not disappoint. The view over the Thames from his balcony was breath-taking. Sadly, I flew back to the states the next day, but we kept in touch like always and I returned once again.
Jonny met Smoker and me downstairs and led us up where he made us a drink and we started talking. Before I knew it, my phone rang and it was my cousin, Katie, who has been studying in Paris for the past year, telling me she had arrived safely in London and asked where she should go to meet me. Jonny, being the incredibly sweet guy that he is, said it was OK for her to come to his place so Jonny and I left Smoker in the flat for a few minutes and went to pick up Katie from the tube station. I hadn’t seen Katie in a couple of years. In our family, we are the lovers of Europe and naturally bond over the idea of travel and marrying a foreigner with a cute accent, haha. She had never been to London before so I was thrilled that she could make the trip while I came over for a visit. We spent a few more hours at Jonny’s – he made fun of our accents (I really think it’s something all foreign men like to do to American girls…) and we talked about his hometown in Kent, Royal Tunbridge Wells (which I like to refer to as simply Wells. Jonny thinks it absurd to only say Wells…but Tunny Wells is OK. I think I like mine better, haha). Jonny walked us all to the bus stop where we caught the night bus back towards Kilburn. It was a bit hard saying goodbye to him considering I only got to see him few hours this time and it didn’t look promising that we would have anymore time that seemed to match up to see one another again 😦
On the way home, Katie told us she was starving, haven’t eaten since that morning, so we hopped off on Edgeware Rd. and Katie enjoyed her very first meal in London at Alpha Pizza & Chicken! Not the most classy or tastiest of choices to eat at but when it’s 3 a.m. you take what you can get. Exhausted, we arrived home and hit the sack, planning on waking early to get a good head start on the day! Plans of Borough Market and Somerset House lie ahead!