Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Fun From Galleries to Music to Food

Just another mutant pigeon.
This is the day, I was nearly
assaulted by one of these beasts.
Friday was perhaps our most poorly planned day because we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.  We knew what we wanted to do:  go to the National Portrait Gallery, go to the National Gallery, go on a London Walk, and go out for dinner.  Yes, I know that sounds like a lot but we didn’t want to see a lot at the National Portrait Gallery.  We just wanted to see the Tudor portraits and bounce over to the National Gallery.  And we didn’t have to be at the walk until 2pm so it seemed like we could do it.

So what went wrong? 

Well, whereas the British Museum is a lot of objects—jars, bowls, mummies, textiles, statues, etc.—the National Gallery is paintings.  And Rob and I love paintings.  We could have easily spent an entire day at the National Gallery and have a wonderful time.  But that isn’t what we had planned. 

Cecil and Cecil.
We went into the National Portrait Gallery first because we were hoping they would have Robert Cecil’s portrait hanging up.  We did not find it because they rotate some of the paintings and his was not on display but his father’s was.  Which is how I got a picture of Rob standing beside the portrait of one of his ancestors. 

They also had a special exhibit of some of the Tudor portraits with detailed explanations of the purpose of the portrait, the changes that were made, and more.  The way the paint faded and how they used silver to give the pearls a sheen but, over time, the silver has tarnished and cannot be polished without causing damage to the painting so the pearls have a black spot. 

Honestly, I could blabber on about the portraits until you’d wish I would just move on to the next part of our day so I think I’ll do that now.  We left the National Portrait Gallery and moved on to the National Gallery itself.  I quickly realized that we could not possibly view everything.  There simply wasn’t enough time and Rob and I could not just breeze through the various galleries.  We tried.  We truly did.  We stopped for lunch at the café.  I had a bowl of soup (a curry spiced one) with a quiche.  We then decided not to torture ourselves with more paintings (maybe on our next trip, we’ll set aside a full day for the National Gallery) and, instead, explored the gift shop, still hoping to find things for too many people. 

Rob had already taken
a picture of this building
which was part of our walking tour.
We left and walked over to where the London Walk Rock ‘n Roll tour would begin.  I highly recommend the London Walk tours because I wasn’t even that enthusiastic about the tour we were going on (mostly because my legs were killing me and my feet were throbbing with pain) but I had a great time.  The tour guide, Adam, walked us through the history of rock ‘n roll in Britain, from skiffle to punk.  He was an entertaining tour guide and even touched on some of the architectural details of a few of the buildings.   

The walk was about 2 hours long and we were walking along streets we had traversed several times already so we felt like we were learning about familiar territory.  When the tour was over, we were both ready to return to the hotel and relax a bit before going out to dinner. 

We had planned on going to one nice restaurant while we were in London and chose to go to the Bistro which was very close to our hotel.  I had a butternut squash soup with allspice pecans followed by chicken tikka masala.  It was wonderful.  For dessert, I had the deconstructed tiramisu and, yes, mostly because it was served with flowers.  After our glorious feast, we ended the night in our hotel room watching Hugo which I think actually did justice to a marvelous book. 

Doesn't it look delicious?
Hi.  My name is Satia and I’m addicted to eating flowers.

So, all in all, it was a long day with a lot of walking, ending with a sublime meal.  The only problem was I still didn’t have any gifts for anyone.  Well, I had a few token gifts for my kids and a book or two for Bibi.  But over all, there were still so many people on our gift list that I knew we would have to do the most dreaded and horrible thing of all on Saturday, our final day in London.  We would have to go shopping.  Ugh.

On the plus side, we had to go out and buy something for Rob anyway so what’s ten or twenty more blocks of walking anyway?  *sigh*


  1. I think there is a family resemblance in the two Cecil's. Sounds like a fun day! Sorry to hear about your addiction.

    1. I think there's even more of a resemblance between him and his namesake (William's son). I wish we had seen his portrait but I'm going to see if I can't get a print for Rob. Shhhhh . . . don't tell him.

  2. Satia, I continue to travel vicariously through your posts and photos. The deconstructed tiramisu looks divine. The flowers are a lovely touch, of course. I have added edible flowers to salads.

    1. Suko, It was divine. And I love edibile flowers. Everyone in the family knows this and they play along. I love that Bibi enjoyed the rose water ice cream I made for my birthday. It wouldn't surprise me if she wanted me to make some for her on her birthday.

  3. We had the most lovely lunch on the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery, with a great view. I liked the way the portraits were arranged chronologically (mostly) so that walking through was like getting a quick overview of British history.

    I really enjoyed my London Walks tour, too -- The Lure of the Underground.

    1. Without a doubt, if Rob and I return to London, we'll do another walking tour. They were brilliant. And, if we go again, we'll definitely spend the entire day in the National Gallery and Portrait Gallery. I wish we had found all of the gifts we wanted to give so we could have returned to it on Saturday. :(

  4. I so cannot wait to visit London someday!!!!!!!

    1. OE, I hope you do. I hope I get to go back. I loved it.