Sunday, October 05, 2014

London: First Sunday

I took a picture of the pub
on the corner hoping
not to get lost.
Sunday, Rob rallied and we both went down to breakfast.

Now, let me explain that this lovely hotel offered us a free breakfast that included a buffet.  The buffet was quite lovely, including fresh fruit, a caprese salad, some protein (slices of lox or turkey, mostly), muesli cereal (what they had also left for us in our room), some baked goods (mini muffins and tiny loaves of banana bread), yogurt, and such.  On top of that, you could order anything you wanted and I wanted food!  I ordered eggs and bacon and hashbrows and COFFEE!  I mean, it’s nice to have an espresso machine in your room but that’s a tiny amount of liquid and I’m used to massive cups (really soup bowls) of coffee.   Rob ordered some eggs and toast.  Something simple.  Nothing too dramatic.

But wait, I’m not done!  When they brought us the coffee, they also brought a basket with two croissants and four pastries—strudel with pear or cherries or berries, sometimes with chocolate.  It changed from day to day, what pastries you would get, but the croissants were always there and always delicious.

Rob still sick.
Rob was too sick to eat.  We ended up asking if we could take the pastries up to our room for when he, hopefully, would feel better.  He collapsed in bed and I tried not to pout.  It should come as no surprise that I had taken books with me on the trip. What will likely surprise you (I know it surprised me) is that I didn’t do much reading at all.  It wasn’t even that I avoided reading.  I simply didn’t care to pick up a book or open my kindle.  I was avoiding everything, including words. 

Okay.  Maybe I was pouting.  After all, here we were in a city neither of us had ever been, in a country neither of us had ever been, on a continent neither of us had ever been.  Can you really blame me for being a bit disappointed that Rob was still feeling too icky to do anything but stay in bed? 

I decided to go to the store for Rob and buy him some soup.  After all, we had a kitchen, complete with pots and pans.  I could make him something if I had the resources.  So off to the market I went.  I found a small store with aisles wider than they have in NY stores but not a lot of variety.  There were three types of soup offered:  tomato, cream of mushroom, cream of chicken.  I went ahead and bought the tomato and mushroom soups.  I then went to the local pharmacy for some Pepto Bismol but it was still closed.  So I shuffled off around the corner for a cup of coffee at Café Nero.

Death by
whipped cream
Café Nero is almost as ubiquitous in London as Starbucks is in the US which is why I boggled to see several of the latter scattered around the city during our travels.  But I can go to Starbucks in the US any time and, although I had promised my son I’d go to Starbucks once while there, I wanted to try a London coffee shop more.  I ordered a white chocolate mocha and said “Yes” to the offer of whipped cream.

Lesson learned.  I should have said “Yes but not a lot, thank you” because this is what I got.  Mind you, the cup is about as tall as my hand is long and, in case you can’t tell because of the angle, the whipped cream is as tall, if not taller, than the cup.  There was simply no way to even take a first sip of this coffee without getting a face-full of whipped cream.  I had images of death-by-whipped-cream-asphyxiation running through my head followed by headlines in the London papers “American Dies From Asphyxiation” and the humorous “stupid American” editorial comments that would inevitably followed.

Room without a view.
A better view would have
faced the courtyard.
I bravely proceeded to eat spoonfuls of whipped cream, scooping out a space so I could drink and breathe.  I took my first sip and was satisfied.  It tasted like one would expect—sweet and warm.  I did not return for another coffee but I wouldn’t avoid it.  I would, however, not be too eager for whipped cream next time. 

That afternoon, I watched Notting Hill and took a nap with Rob, after buying him some Pepto Bismol.  He was feeling a little better by the late afternoon and by evening he was talking about being hungry.  I also ordered some ginger ale for Rob because I was unable to find any at the store. 

Now, remember that pretty plate of deliciousness we had been given the night before?  The one from which I had so generously given Rob several pieces?  He had not yet touched these and, although I hadn’t finished my breakfast nor had I eaten anything for lunch, I nevertheless had not touched a single one of these things.  Instead, I ate my way through a croissant, a couple of pastries, and was beginning to think that my entire trip would be centered around consuming every bit of carbohydrate I could find.  All of them.  Every delicious variation of them!
Rose petal in a bowl.
Together, we walked to the market and picked out some food.  Waitrose is a food-store chain in London and we were able to buy some packaged meals that were not frozen but not freshly made, the sort of thing you can buy in many larger supermarkets these days in the US.  He picked up some mushroom risotto and I chose a steak and mushroom pie for myself.

The thing is, I had really hoped to have Yorkshire pudding on our trip.  Alas, this traditional British dish is only served on Sunday. I, being the martyr to my marriage that I am, let Rob’s delicate tummy lead the way.  As a result, I never did get my Yorkshire pudding which is why I chose a steak and mushroom pie because I was determined to have something traditional, something other than the endless flow of pastries and sweets I had been enjoying.

We curled up in front of the television to watch a couple of comedies while enjoying our meals before I headed off to bed, hoping that tomorrow my trip to London wouldn’t be limited to fetching food for a still suffering Rob.

The bouquet of flowers in our room.
I regret not taking one of the roses
before they took the bouquet away.


  1. Oh no, another day with no sightseeing!

    1. Betty, By this point I was close to tears but, when Rob was able to eat something and not get sick, I at least went to bed with some hope.

  2. Satia, thank you for sharing some of the details of your trip and the little photos. I understand your desire to go to Café Nero. That mousse really looks incredible! And I would have been craving (or demanding) coffee as well.

    1. I still can't believe how much whipped cream they put on my drink, Suko. It was a bit intimidating. :)

  3. We ended up with quite a few of those non-frozen prepared meals during our trip, too. Now, I'm looking for something we like as much in the US, because it would be nice to do that once a week or so instead of cooking.

    Joy's Book Blog

    1. They were pretty tasty, all things considered. I think Whole Foods offers some meals like that, made with quality food and not overly salted, processed, etc. I'm just glad we had a kitchen to use because the room service menu was a bit too rich for Rob feeling as he did. Of course, eventually, we were eating all kinds of rich foods so that menu looked great after another day or two.