UK 2015: London – Day 2

Friday morning we awoke to a beautiful morning of blue skies, so we decided to explore Notting Hill. We started along the famous Portobello Road, and quickly found several interesting shops and road stalls, bringing home several origami butterflies from one store, and a sketch of St. Pauls Directly from an artist with a stall on the street. Part way up the road we took a detour to explore some of the beautiful homes nearby (!) then met up with our crew by the Tube station.

Notting Hill  Notting Hill

St John's Church  flowery stairs in Notting Hill

Everyone was hungry so we decided to go to First Floor Restaurant for lunch. I ordered the chicken caesar salad (Leandra had my anchovies – she said yum) and a half-pint of cider, while Leandra had the mussels (yet again) and a glass of rose. The food was tasty, but service was a little slow and we may have been better off with street food or one of the other cafes.

Down the street there were some great dessert stalls, so we got a florentine (almonds, cherries and chocolate cookie) and a chocolate pecan tart. Leandra searched for the blue door of the eponymous ‘Notting Hill’ movie and eventually found it.

Notting Hill Market  the blue door in Notting Hill
Notting Hill market on a Friday; the blue door from the movie ‘Notting Hill’

From here we decided to give our friends a taste of east London, so we took the tube to Shoreditch and walked over to the Old Spitalfields market. It was a little after 4p when we arrived, so parts of the market were packing up, but we managed to find some fun t-shirts and a good deal on four decorative dessert plates. As we learned on our last trip, this area has some great street art, so we spent about an hour exploring the side streets off Brick Lane; finding some old faves and quite a few new ones too.

Otto Schade  rude kids

street art  hug

birds

pumpkin face  secret society

After a quick change of clothes at the we headed back out for dinner. We were a little early for our reservation so we stopped off for a quick cider (me) and Cottage Brewing street porter (Leandra) at the Fitzrovia pub.

Dinner was at Da Paolo with our group and Leandra’s Aunt Kim and Jules, then drinks afterwards in the bustling and expensive Charlotte Street Hotel’s Oscar Bar. The big hit of the night was discovering a new (to us) drink called “Scottish Lover” that we need to recreate at home!

dinnerphoto
photo courtesy of our waiter via Jules’ phone

posing @ the Charlotte Hotel
We didn’t leave till they were shutting the bar down at 1am!

By the time we left the tube was closed, so we had ~1 mile walk back to hotel – as usual, we had a memorably fun evening in London!

UK 2015: London – Day 1

Thursday We arrived in London's Kings Cross station, adjacent to the beautiful old brick St. Pancras station. Due to our unfortunate visit to the lost & found office, we also saw the famous track 9 ¾ from the Harry Potter books.   not … [Continue reading]

UK 2015: First Class train to London

selfie-trainstation

There was enough drama with our connecting flight from London to Edinburgh (AA and BA changing the flight time - multiple times) that we were happy we chose the train for the return leg. Because we purchased the tickets so far in advance (November), … [Continue reading]

UK 2015: Edinburgh

wildpate

Tuesday We dropped off the car after a long day of driving and walked back toward the airport's tram station. For 5£ each we were in the heart of Edinburgh in about 20 minutes. Thankfully the key was left under the mat for us so we could drop off … [Continue reading]

UK 2015: Speyside to Edinburgh

Our group discussed a few options for what to do along the way to Edinburgh, and Eric and I were outvoted in favor of a trip to the east coast for castle and shore views. Our first stop was in Tomintoul for The Whisky Castle, a whisky shop with 6-7 … [Continue reading]

UK 2015: Exploring Speyside

carpaccio

Monday was our day that revolved completely around whisky tasting in Speyside. We started off rather early with a 10am reservation for the 'Essential' tour and tasting at Benromach. Although we weren't allowed to take photos inside the distillery … [Continue reading]

UK 2015: Grantown-on-Spey

After our long day in the car, I needed to get a quick walk around town to check out the snow.   As I was taking photos of the church, the pastor's wife waved me over and invited me for post-church tea. Turns out they were Americans that … [Continue reading]