Hi, back again
We arrived in Munich on Tuesday en route to London and spent 3hours waiting for our connecting flight. Because of the debacle with the luggage we had to go through immigration to collect our bags, recheck our bags and then back through immigration to catch our flight. PITA. We found a seat and that's when Gaynor realized she could not find her glasses. An extensive search failed to find them, our only thought they were on the plane we left. We contacted Tabitha who got her an appointment at a Specsavers nearby our hotel.
Here we are in London,
Got to Heathrow at 11.30am and got a cab to our hotel. staying in Brick Lane at the Arbor (http://www.arborcity.co.uk/ ) . The area has a huge Middle Eastern/Indian population which reflected by the style of food/restaurants. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_Lane ) . It has a new restaurant in the hotel set up by Marco Pierre White ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_Pierre_White ). It is a New York Italian themed eatery and is so new it is not even listed on Google yet.
Tabitha met us and took us for a walk around the local area as well
as the Specsavers appointment. They tested Gaynor's eyes and said her new glasses would be ready by 3pm the next day. 24hr turn around which is pretty impressive. We then headed into town where Tab had booked us into a themed eatery called " In Cahoots ". A WW2 based restaurant. You have to ask at door to see the Captain and you are asked if he was expecting you. You are taken down a maze of stairs and seated in a mock up of a train. The food was served in army style aluminium trays. Gaynor had Crumpets and I had Beef and Ale pie ( 2 party pies with sauce). After food and alcohol both Gaynor and I were running out of gas considering we had been on the road for over 30 hours. Headed back to the hotel, only catching 2 wrong trains ( the same one twice LOL), and passed out at around 9pm. Slept like logs which is good as we had a breakfast booked at 7:15am with Tab.
Up at 6am and headed of to Heron Tower on Bishopsgate where the " Duck and Waffle " is located on the 40th floor (
https://duckandwaffle.com/ ). It is 24hr restaurant which unsurprisingly served various forms of duck and waffle. Stunning views over London and overlooking the Gherkin ( http://www.thegherkinlondon.com/ ).
Tabitha headed of to work and we headed into town .This was an introduction to peak/rush hour on the Tube. A crush I have seen it before (2005) but had forgotten how bad it was. It was 6 to 8 deep along the platform, people waiting to get on the next train, which came every 30 secs to 1 min. Each train was already jam packed with commuters and when the doors opened then came the battle to somehow force your way on, which included people having to duck so when the doors closed they weren't hit in the head. We waited for about 10 trains to come and go which had thinned the crowd down and even though the trains were reasonably full we managed to get and head to Oxford Circus.
Gaynor wanted to go to Liberty, which is an upmarket over priced department store on Regents St.( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_(department_store) ).Gaynor pottered and I sat. From there we went the Borough Markets ( http://boroughmarket.org.uk/ ) which sells food and veg in
a similar vein to the Vic markets in Melbourne. Some interesting produce including the biggest oysters have ever seen. We then ventured back to the hotel using an app called Citymapper. Invaluable for finding you way around whether it be by foot, tube, bus or car. It shows trains to catch from which platform, interchanges and stops in between on and off. ( https://citymapper.com/london ).
We went home via Specsavers and picked up Gaynor's glasses with Gaynor saying " I can see again! ". The glasses were £99, and they didn't charge for the eye testing because it being an emergency type situation. Well doneSpecsavers.
At night we met up with Melinda Lieshout ( an ex work colleague of Gaynor's) for dinner at a local Indian restaurant called Tayyabs ( http://tayyabs.co.uk/ ). Melinda moved to London 2 1/2 months ago to start a new life and is thoroughly enjoying the challenge, especially wrangling recalcitrant housemates. I explained to her that it has taken Tabitha over 2 years to the housemates/accommodation that your finally happy with. We had a great night catching up over some very nice food and a few beverages (BYO), afterwards we walked back to the
hotel for cocktails before saying goodbye to Melinda and headed off to bed.
Up again at 6am for no other reason than we couldn't get back to sleep. Out for a walk to the Spitalfield Markets ( http://www.spitalfields.co.uk/ ) which is a mix of craft/clothing/handbags/jewellery on one side and a Bargain Hunt style market on the other (very similar to Portobello Rd but under cover) with people selling all sorts of stuff like old clothes, coins, furniture etc. Had breakfast whilst there at the Giraffe ( http://www.spitalfields.co.uk/food/giraffe/ ),and looked at all the stuff then headed back to hotel for rest up before dinner tonight with Tabitha and the relatives from Gaynor's side.Had a restful afternoon and headed into London to meet Tabby at Scarfes Bar in The RoseWood. ( https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/london/dining/Scarfes-Bar ). Quite posh with lots of suits and executive type ladies filling the place. As you can imagine being a Friday night it was very busy and took us a while to get a seat. Whilst chatting with Tab who asked us what was on the schedule for tomorrow we said we were off to see Anne-Marie and Nellie in Alton. I said " OOPS, I was supposed to pick
up the car this afternoon". Immediately tried to call the rental place and they closed at 6:00pm. It was now 6:10pm, oh well we will see what happens tomorrow. We were later joined by Lisa ( John's wife ) who does purchasing for the Rosewood.After drinks we headed to dinner with Gaynor (Aunt), John & wife Lisa, Richard & wife Julie and Paul sans partner Christine. Venue was Hubbard and Bell, (http://www.hubbardandbell.com/ ) a very busy bar and grill with the Friday night crowd making it a very busy venue. Spent the night telling everyone about how Betty ( Gaynor's sister, and my Gaynor's Mum) was getting along with her health issues. I assured them that she was in the best possible care. Had a great night catching up with them all. Headed back to the hotel to and wondered how tomorrow will go with the rental car.Up at 6am and wondered whether to call 1st or just front up. The latter prevailed, and I headed of to Kings Cross Europecar. Arrived and was told " I will see what we have available". He came and said he had an offer I couldn't refuse, a Mercedes C class and it
was only £50 a day. Was that instead of what I had already paid and he said " No, on top of". I politely declined and settled for a Skoda Rapid Diesel. Drove back to the hotel to pick up Gaynor and head south to Alton. A 2 hour drive down the A3 getting there in time for lunch. Anne-Marie, Stephen and Nellie were home. Nellie, who is 94, is the last surviving sibling from Gaynor's father's side and Anne-Marie's mother. Had a wonderful afternoon talking about all the kids are, how Betty is etc. Anne-Marie put on a great spread of sandwiches, sausage rolls and cake to finish. Quite a feast.Headed back to London thinking 2 hours there and 2 hours back. No.With many hold ups due to roadworks and the odd broken down car closing it down to one lane.Finally got back after 3 hours, just in time to freshen up and head our for dinner with Tabitha. The venue was The Frog ( http://www.thefrogrestaurant.com/ ) which serves small, very tasty plates like tapas but British themed plates such as "Beetroot, Beetroot & Beetroot" and " Lamb with mushy Peas". I am sure if you go you will
enjoy just be warned, it is quite expensive. Finished up and walked back to the Hotel to pack and we are dividing up our luggage and leaving it with Tabitha so we are not carting round everything for the next 2 weeks.Up at 6am , repacked and headed to Clapton to meet up with Tabitha for breakfast and drop off the excess luggage. Tabby lives in a 3 bed apartment on the banks of the river Lee. Very nice area with walking and bike paths and a quite an upmarket eating strip nearby ( https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/RestaurantsNear-g186338-d4141128-Rectory_Road_Station-London_England.html ). We settled for a little cafe that did the most wonderful Turkish style eggs. Tabby then gave us a guided tour around the area and showed us where she used to live. We dropped her off without tearful goodbyes as we will be back in 2 weeks after our tour of Scotland and Ireland.Our next stop is Sauchie to visit Kate and Robin via a stopover in YorkNext blog will will probably be post ScotlandAnon
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