London Holiday: Day 4

Holy crap, the weather in London has been nice so far! Coming in March I would have expected constant rain but instead it has been sunshine with some clouds here and there and an average temperature.  I still need my Pendleton wool jacket everyday and sometimes a scarf, but I can’t complain!

Well, after last nights shenanigans at The Pig’s Ear & Jonny’s, all three of us slept in later than we wanted to. Katie set her alarm for 9…and woke up at 10:30.  Oh well, what are you going to do? Stupid to beat myself up for sleeping to long now. Besides, Smoker always needs the extra rest. This girl could sleep 20 of the 24 hours in a day and be happy.  After we got ready, I had the general plans of the day set out. 

We hopped on the tube at Kilburn and took it to Oxford Circus because we realized we were starving so I suggested we grab a bite at Pret a Manger, my ultimate favorite on-the-cheap-&-go place to grab a bite.  I also love it because they make everything fresh daily, using natural food, avoiding chemicals, additives and preservatives.  At the end of each day, instead of keeping the food for the next or throwing it away, Pret donates it to different charities and people who could actually need it.  Maybe I love Pret so much because the very first Pret happened to be opened in London the year I was born (sign anyone?)!  Pret is a privately owned company who cares about the people they serve.  Locations are slowly popping up in big cities (we just got one in Chicago last September) and will continue to grow with demanding business. So if you pass by a Pret – stop in and eat some good food! I suggest…well, everything available really. But the baguette sandwiches and yogurt with almonds has to be my favorites!

Mature cheddar with red onion, sprouts, and chutney.

Absolutely no nasties.

 After eating, we hopped back on the tube and got off at Temple where we walked to Somerset House and I grabbed us three tickets for the free tour later that day.  We then again, hopped back on the tube and took it to London Bridge to go to Borough market. 

Borough market has to be one of my favorite markets in London.  It is full of locals selling their own breads, cheeses, candies, and wines.  You can easily get lost in the market, especially on a Saturday when the place is packed like sardines with people stocking up on fresh goods for the week.  Don’t worry – as you’re trying to figure your way out to a walking path, you can nibble on some free cheese and bread samples. Mmmm mmmm mmmm!  We didn’t have much time to spend here considering we had to go back to Somerset soon for our tour, so we tried to book it through, seeing as much and as many vendors as possible.  I even tried a mushroom pesto or something like that – and I normally, DO NOT eat fungus. Yuck!  But, surprisingly, this wasn’t bad at all. I’m pretty sure I could have taken another few bites.  Katie, Smoker, and I wanted to buy some things to take back with us to the flat but knew we would have to carry it around the tour and other places we would go so we opted out, hoping to come back later that day.

A vendor at Borough Market.

An overview of Borough Market.

Back to Somerset House we went!  Our group was fairly small, about 15 people including ourselves, and our tour guide was extremely knowledgable about the area which is always nice to have.  The tour took almost 2 hours by the time we were finished but it was well worth going.  Somerset House is a beautiful establishment set on the Thames River and the mansion was a favoured place for nobility.  To explain in detail would take too long but if you want and wish to know more about this historical place, please go directly to the home site, here.  It is known now for hosting film premiers, art exhibitions and outside concerts.  Have you seen The Duchess with KeiraKnightly (one of my favorites)? Well, Somerset House was used as the location for Devonshire house in the film (the real Devonshire House is no longer standing, sadly.  It used to be caddy corner to where The Ritz now stands).  Also, the lower level of Somerset (not available to public – you must take the tour) was used for the prison scenes in Sherlock Holmes (see image below).  Most recently, Somerset House was used for London Fashion Week 2011 and London Fashion Weekend.  As I was walking the halls, pathways, and rooms I couldn’t help but wonder what great designer was there before me just a few weeks prior!

Somerset House (back)

Katie and I in front of Somerset.

Smoker and I in front of Somerset.

Lower level of Somerset House

 

We left our tour on the Victoria embankment of Somerset House, so we decided to take a walk along the Thames.  I couldn’t let my little cousin come to London for the first time and not see the big things like Parliament, Westminster Abby, the London Eye, etc…  As we were walking alongside the river, we stopped to take a few fun pictures on the statues and then made our way to one of my favorite spots.  Every time I’m in London, I love to go to the same location to either eat lunch, do some writing, or just enjoy the view.  It sits opposite the river and Parliament and is simply a ledge where if you leaned over too far, you would fall into the oh-so-clean Thames! After a mini photo shoot with all of us girls we decided we wanted to go back to Borough market to purchase a few things. Sadly, by the time we got back, the booths were closing up and tearing down for the day and what was a packed can of sardines a few hours earlier, was now a wide open pasture with just a few mammels.

Showing Katie around Westminster.

Me at my favorite spot by Parliament.

All together: Katie, me, and, vertically challenged, Smoker.

Starving, we decided to grab dinner.  We randomly decided to get off in Covent Garden because I knew they had quite a few quaint pubs there that would have warm meals and the type of food we were all craving that night.  We ended up at The Globe pub which was packed inside but had one table open upstairs (again…a sign?) so we snatched it!  Smokes and I had fish n’ chips with yummy mushy peas and Katie had the Globe chicken special, which I really don’t remember what that was. Sitting down after a long day of walking, walking, and more walking our bodies started to relax and we realized how tired we were.  But the tiredness would have to go away because we were going out to the popular club, Fabric, tonight in Farringdon!

Fabric is one of the most talked about clubs in London. Maybe it’s because you have to wait in 4-5 different waiting line areas where security guards open the gates to let you move on when the club can fit you, or maybe it’s because you have to pay a whopping £19 (roughly $35) just to get in the door!!! Not to mention the  £1 per item at the coat check room. Or, maybe it is because the club has 3 different rooms of techno music blaring and speakers in the floor so you literally will feel the vibrations run through you.  After we cleaned our wallets for the night to get in, explored the different music rooms, and escaped the amazingly creepy dancers trying to dance with us, we had a good time looking like idiots dancing to music we normally don’t listen to.  The poor girls who wore uncomfortable heels were in pain within minutes, including Katie, so we took a couple breaks on the beds, sofas, and benches that are in the in between of rooms.  If you’ve ever watched Sex and the City where Carrie and the girls go to the club, Bed…you know, the one with all the beds in it…this is what the lounge area reminded me of in Fabric.

Exhausted, we left and took a few night buses home where we arrived at 4:30 a.m. And Katie walked the streets of London barefoot on the way home due to her pretty heels that wanted her feet to die.  A couple of the other girls had to as well. I learned my lesson a couple of years back – always, always, always carry a pair of flats in your bag!

Me and Katie before heading to Fabric.

Hair up and sweaty after hours of dancing!

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