So today was about as uneventful as predicted. Studio, packing for Edinburgh and Amsterdam, finally finishing the last of my stew.
However, yesterday was a totally awesome adventure in London! I realized that I have been in England far too long and in London far too many times to have not yet gone on a London Walk tour. My Mom has been telling me about these for ages, and Jolie is also a big fan as it turns out. Jolie and I decided to take the 2:30 walk called The Secret Village, and meet beforehand to have lunch.
We met at Victoria around noon and headed off across London. Jolie wasn’t telling me what she had planned. We were nearly at the restaurant when we started talking about sushi, at which point she stopped and asked me if I’d rather have sushi or barbeque. I’m quite certain that my voice trembled with excitement. Barbeque… after all this time!
The restaurant we went to is called Barbecoa. Apparently, the head chef is an American Royal Barbeque Competition champion. That’s right: all the way in Kansas City. Jolie and I split short ribs to start. They were good, but they were in a Memphis style barbeque sauce that I couldn’t have eaten much more of. I love vinegar, just not that much vinegar.
We both ordered the Smoke Pit Beef for our main, it having the KC style sauce. I was too hungry to take a before picture, but the servings were generous and came with baked beans. It. Was. Fabulous! I no longer have any reason to ever leave London ever again. The city has got it all.
And there is barbeque restaurant in Kansas City with a view like the one from our table:
We finished with the perfect amount of time to meander over to our walk. The tour guide was a nice gentleman with curly English hair. He was charismatic and interactive, all very enjoyable. It was a great tour because it took us through places I don’t think we would have found otherwise. I never thought I would see streets so quiet in the middle of London.
We saw a Church that is in almost constant use for filming (there was a rapper using it when we walked by), a creepy park with 60,000 bodies underneath from the Black Death, some old Victorian buildings, the place where William Wallace was drawn and quartered and another where witches were burned at the stake… we also saw the hospital where the Season Two finale of Sherlock Holmes takes place (I know you’re jealous, Dad!).
One particularly interesting part of the tour was when we passed through a tiny park, known as the Postal Park. Side note: did you know that at one point, there were up to 11 mail deliveries/day in London? People would complain if a letter took more than two hours to arrive! That’s almost as good as email! but, back to the point. In this park, an artist had created a piece there memorializing acts of heroism by average citizens as reported by newspapers. Here is an example:
It was a good, long walk. Afterwards, Jolie knew the perfect thing to do. We had been seeing London up close, now it was time to get some perspective. We made our way to Duck & Waffle. On the 40th floor of a skyscraper, it’s the highest restaurant in Europe. The elevator ride alone is amazing. When you get to the top, it’s all floor-to-ceiling windows and totally spectacular. Also, I learned that it’s open 24/7… good to know, if I ever get stranded in London. It was a close call the last time I returned from Paris, and I would have had a little more piece of mind if I’d known there was a warm, safe anywhere for me to go to.
We had drinks. I had to have a Sazerac as soon as I saw it on the menu. It’s one of my favorites, but it’s a prohibition era classic cocktail that I hadn’t seen since the States. Jolie had never had one before, so she decided to get the same and give it a shot. It’s definitely a sipper!
Jolie’s husband Ray had just gotten off work and came to join us. Unfortunately, he gets terrible vertigo. It was a very clear day and the windows were just making him feel too woozy, so he left us.
Jolie and I continued our walk, unguided. She took me to see the old trading building (I forget the name, but it’s beautiful and there’s a lovely looking restaurant there now) and walk through the Leadenhall Market. We strolled across the Thames on the London Bridge, and parted ways at the London Bridge Station.
I had thought that I might stay in London for a while in the evening, but my adventures left me pretty exhausted. I made it back to Brighton in plenty of time to relax and get a good night’s sleep, before class resumed today. Easter break is over. Tomorrow, I go to my other class… and then it’s off to Edinburgh!