It is our last full day exploring, so we began the day by checking a bookstore off our list. Sadly, it had been re-named, but the address in our guidebook helped us confirm that it was the right one. Now it is the Slightly Foxed bookshop and it was still adorable. Then we went for lattes at Nero Coffee (a chain that is everywhere in London) before heading to the Queen’s Gallery near Buckingham Palace. We had seen an ad for Vermeer in the tube and decided to go. They did in fact have a Vermeer, singular. The rest of his collection was elsewhere. I also decided to get my photo taken with a portrait of a sassy lad named William and almost knocked it off the wall in the process.
Next we found the Black Friar, which is a famous pub and is owned by Nicholson’s. All Nicholson’s have the same menu, so we took a peek inside and moved on. The bartender was kind and gave us a quick history. When we asked how long it had been there, he told us he had been there since noon. A Brit with a sense of humor.
We were ravenous at this point and settled on a sandwich shop called Wood House. I had a really good seeded bagel with cream cheese and lox. Then we wandered over to the Sherlock Holmes museum and I was good and did not buy the 49 pound hat. A walk through Regent’s Park to see the geese and their friends was a must, followed by a stroll down Abbey Road. We decided we valued our lives more than we did capturing the famous photo of the Fab Four crossing the road. It will be a mental memory.
We headed to the Royal Festival Hall to pick up our tickets for the London Philharmonic and had dinner at a restaurant called Locale. My chicken Madeira was so good that I got the sauce all over my silk dress. This must be a common occurrence because our server promptly handed me a pack of stain removing wet wipes. I am not sure if my dress is ruined, but I went to the symphony with a splattered, artsy pattern. The chicken was delicious and I will have to re-create the sauce. It had cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and the chicken was topped with mozzarella cheese.
The Philharmonic was impressive and the outdoor terrace on the fifth floor provided an incredible view of Big Ben, Parliament, and the London Eye. The music was Dvorák and Mahler, which is something I would see in Indiana, so it wasn’t a musical stretch. There was a man in front of us in his 80’s wearing a futbol tracksuit, who seemed to be a regular. This was not his first rodeo and we took cues from him as to when each piece was over. His head bopped along to the music and he knew every note. We liked Dvorák better. Mahler seemed like a downer. ‘I am sad and want to be great just like Beethoven….dun dun dun.’ Or at least that is how we interpreted Mahler.
We got home around 10 pm and stayed up until midnight attempting to pack everything we brought, plus everything we bought, into our one piece of luggage. Pray for us. It’s a miracle my zipper zipped.