Friday, August 12, 2011

DUB -> LHR: LONDON, Part 2

Embarrassingly, it has been 2 months since we were in London and I have yet to post about the rest of our weekend away.  So here it is - better late than never, right?

In my first post about our weekend in London, I told you about our amazing tour of Highgate Cemetery - in my book, a must-visit if you appreciate the beauty and history of old (yet still functional) cemeteries.  And now I'll tell you what we got up to when we left Highgate.  [Hint:  it involved lots of delicious food, lots of walking, and - of course - jugs of Pimm's.  :) ]

Before we took a leisurely stroll over to Hempstead Heath, our first stop was the beautiful little village of Highgate....
...where we picked up a totally delicious salted beef and mustard sandwiches, a bottle of wine and some fabulous pastries.  I would share these delectable delights with you, but I *think* my brother has the only photos of that feast and even though I've asked him eleventy-squillion times, he has yet to send them to me.  So you're stuck with my limited selection of photos.  Thanks JJ.  :P  

I do, however, have a photo of the view of London from the top of Hampstead Heath - ain't it purty?
With our lovely hosts - JJ&K
After our lovely picnic in Hampstead Heath, we walked a lot and worked up quite a thirst <giant wink>.  So we strolled through Hampstead village (and kept our eyes pealed - in vain - for locals Gywnnie Paltrow and Dame Judy).  We stopped at a charming little pub called The Wells Tavern for a jug of Pimm's.

We sat outside in the sunshine, which was really lovely.  I ventured inside to visit the ladies room but took no photos of the interior EXCEPT the bathroom.  My heart skipped a beat at the glossy black subway tile with white grouting...
I'm a nerd. I know.  We strolled around Hempstead village, where I spotted this beautiful door (excuse the fact that it's cut off, my camera screen is broked).....

 ...and could resist browsing this amazing gourmet butcher/food shop. We wanted to buy everything, but somehow restrained ourselves.

At about that time, my feet felt like they were crying tears of dispair, pain and anguish in my beloved Converses.  This particular pair of Converses and I had trod many an exciting path together - through Paris, Southern France, Dublin, Galway, Washington D.C., New York, West Point, and everywhere in between, it seems.  However, somewhere in Hempstead Village they said I QUIT.   I ran (as fast as my aching feet could carry me) into the nearest Gap and bought myself this precise pair of City Flats, which were adorable on and very comfy but survived only about 36 hours of walking before they decided to get holes and fail me.  They're not the most sturdy shoes, but for a tenner I wasn't going to argue.  

So I snapped a quick pic of my Converses so I could remember what size I was (for online ordering, natch), chucked them in the bin and skipped happily to our next point of refreshment: The Southampton Arms:

All they serve are cask ales, which the men in our group loved, of course.  So we all tried what they had on tap and helped ourselves to pork pies and sausage rolls - for sustenance, you understand.  YUM!
I wish I had a full shot of the men at the table behind us in that photo - one of them had on a banana yellow suit, and his friends made no attempt to hide what they really thought of it.  I told P I'm getting him one for Christmas.  He was thrilled.

After a quick time check, we realised that we'd better get a wiggle on if we were going to make our next event of the day (keep in mind this is all one day - we did the Highgate tour that morning).  So we legged (and tube-ed) it to the Tower where we began our JACK THE RIPPER walking tour!  Here's K and I as we waited for it to begin.

 It was really interesting and we really enjoyed it!  It also afforded us a nice view of the Gherkin as we walked from spot to grisly spot:

We were starving when the tour finished at around 9:00PM.  JJ&K took us to the uber-popular Indian restaurant du jour, Tyyabs.
 When we arrived, we found a serpentine queue of people wrapped through the restaurant, around tables and chairs and diners who were enjoying what they were eating so much they didn't seem to notice or care.  By that point, we were salivating and seriously debated whether anyone would notice if we nicked their naan off the table.  :)  We waited for an hour (and sipped wine as we did - it's BYOB), but it was worth it.  The food was amazing.  The service was not so amazing, but we forgave them - just about.  

JJ has all the good photos of our dinner, this was the only one I captured.  It's blurry but you get the idea...

We flopped into bed, exhausted that night after a brilliant day of walking, sightseeing, eating and drinking.  :)  

The next morning, unfortunately, was to be our last in London.  We had brunch at the delicious High Road Brasserie in Chiswick (you can even stay in their adorable rooms at their High Road House), where I had eggs benedict and a bloody mary.  Perfection.  I loved their decor - apple green benches with globe pendants over the bar - the marble counters with dark wood, with mirrored bar - it was very vintage and definitely fabulous.  

They had a fantastic bar:
And look how cool their floor is:
We unwillingly said our goodbyes to our gracious hosts and boarded the train for Heathrow, where Munchers was waiting for us, fast asleep in her crib, in Dublin.

It was a fantastic weekend - thanks so much, JJ & K!

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