The May Fair Bar
When we checked-in last Friday, the guest relations manager gave us a complimentary drink certificate to be used anywhere in the hotel. Why put it to waste? After we checked out of our room, we decided to have a light brunch at The May Fair Bar. This was also where we planned on meeting Sheena. I ordered Gambas al pil pil. I know, right? What the heck is that? Tiger prawns cooked with garlic and chili served with fresh baked ciabatta. Nancy ordered the May Fair Bar's cinnamon French toast with warm caramel glazed brioche and salted caramel ice cream on the side. For the free drink, a passion fruit mimosa - refreshing. We kept it simple for brunch and that was enough to start our day.
Sheena got to the The May Fair shortly, and after our meal, we all got ready to head off to Green Park Underground Station.
Wingardium Leviosa, my ode to Harry Potter
Last Sunday, when the Reyes family drove us around Central London, one of the structures that they pointed out was King's Cross Station and St. Pancras Station - popular sights featured in Harry Potter. Naturally, we had to come back and check it out, and glad we did. Sheena knew exactly what to look for. She asked for directions for Platform 9 and 3/4, and we were pointed to make a right towards a line where Harry Potter fans lined-up to take pictures. Platform 9 and 3/4 is where future wizards depart and ride via the Hogwarts Express.
After a few minutes of waiting, it was our turn to take pictures. I gotta tell you, the Harry Potter crew members were the nicest. They looked like they were enjoying their job. We were asked to pick which scarf we wanted to wear, naturally, we picked red and gold. The photographer took a few pics of me and Nancy - jumping and using our wand. It was fun just to be silly for a moment and that little silliness is one of the highlights of our trips so far. After our photo op, we had a quick lunch upstairs, and then we took a quick walk to St. Pancras Station and took more pictures in honor of Harry Potter.
|Inside the Harry Potter store - King's Cross Station|
|St. Pancras Station|
|St. Pancras Station|
In My Life - Beatlemania
Another item on my list of places to visit? Abbey Road. I love The Beatles and every now and then, I'd play Beatles songs on Spotify or Pandora. There was no question that I need to pay homage to the Fab Four, and what better way to do so than to walk on Abbey Road. To get there, we had to take the Tube and we got out at St. Johns Wood Station. It was a 5 minute walk to get to Abbey Road. What I didn't expect was how busy it was going to be. Not busy from the tourists, but it's a busy thoroughfare for cars, trucks, bicycles, and buses. It was hard to find a position to take pictures right in the middle of the painted divider. I was afraid to get hit by the oncoming traffic. So we made the best of it and took pics from the left hand side of Abbey Road. After snapping a few pictures, we wrote on the white walls of Abbey Road Studios. To the right of the studios - a brightly lit gift shop of everything Beatles. Bucket list, check!
Tower Bridge and the Tower of London
This visit would not be complete without taking pictures closer to the Tower Bridge. So you can imagine the dozens of pictures we all took outside the bridge, near the bridge, and on the bridge. You get the picture! Still can't believe it. The bridge that I as a kid could only sing about was right in front of my very eyes. We decided to cross the bridge and once we got to the other side, we took pics of the Tower of London.
Fish & Chips experience redeemed
I didn't rave or said anything great about yesterday's Fish and Chips from Fish!Kitchen. It was just okay. Since I had one more day in London, I wanted to give it another try. During our break at Starbucks before we crossed the bridge, I looked at Yelp and found Poppie's Fish and Chips. Great reviews, highly rated. We had to take a bus and walked 5 minutes from the bus stop. When we got there, I knew we were in for a treat. It was crowded, bustling with energy, and I could smell the fried greasiness 5 miles away. The decor was kind of like a 50's vibe. We were seated close to the kitchen counter and decided on Hot Seafood Platter (cod bites, whitebait, scampi, and calamari with chips) and Mushy Peas. After waiting for a few minutes, our platter arrived. It was fried perfectly, nice batter, fresh seafood, and the vinegar, ketchup and tartar sauce helped us along the way. The platter was big enough for the 3 of us to share, but it was sooooo good, that we ordered another plate minus the chips (no fries). When I come back to London, I will definitely come back to Poppies.
From Central London to Sutton, Sheena's flat
After eating at Poppies, we took a train towards The May Fair and picked up our luggage. Sheena arranged for an Uber car to pick us up and we rode towards Sutton close to a half hour. We were glad to be spending the night at her flat so we could report this back to her Dad when we fly back to the States. Sheena lives in a great area, not far from the nearest train station, and just a few minutes walk from the stores and restaurants. Her flat was on the 5th floor, and an elevator took us to her floor. Once she opened the doors, it opened up to a very spacious living room and entry way. There were 2 bedrooms, and 1 bathroom, a full kitchen, dishwasher, and washing machine. The living room had 3 windows with panoramic views of Central London. Her mom and dad, and the rest of the family would be so proud of her, for being able to live on her own, for being independent in a country far away from everyone else.
A DaddyTravels Gratitude
To Donna and Yen, many thanks again for spending the day with us and showing us around. To the Reyes Family - Ate Vicky, Kuya Amado, Kuya Ferdie, Ate Anna, and Tish - for showing us highlights of Central London, and that not-so-little Indian restaurant we went to - we will never forget that, and all the conversations we had along the way. To Sheena, thank you for everything, for taking the time out of your schedule, for arranging our transportation, and for being our guide. We are so proud of you, and we can't wait to show you California on your next vacation. We owe you big time!!!
Ok folks, that's all for now.....tomorrow is Day 6, we will wake up in London, but will spend the next few days in a new country. Good night!