Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Tiny Tour of London

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: April 25, 2015 continued...

We were all very glad to see Craig again and even though he must have been exhausted from traveling, he was as eager as the rest of us to go out and explore a bit in London. It was hard to believe that it had really happened, but there we were! We freshened up in our tiny rooms at the Apollo and then set out to find something to eat.

We didn't have to walk far to find a pub. It turned out to be an Irish pub called O'Neill's, which is just across from the train station. The waitress was very friendly and happily allowed us to sample some of the beer before making a selection. Darcy, Mathieu, and Craig began a little tradition of asking for "your three favorites" and the wait staff at each pub we visited was always happy to oblige. They enjoyed trying the popular local brews. I had ordered ginger beer, which was very refreshing. 

Our meal was delicious and filling. We all chose something different. I went for comfort food and ordered the mac and cheese with bacon. It was quite possibly the best macaroni and cheese dish I have ever tasted. The blend of cheeses and the crisp, smoky bacon made it a very satisfying choice. Darcy enjoyed her shrimp scampi, which was actually more like garlic-seasoned fried shrimp. Mathieu opted for the stacked burger which featured a thick beef patty piled high with pulled pork and drizzled with barbecue sauce. Craig dug into a plate heaped with the traditional bangers and mash. The sausage and mashed potatoes were topped with a rich brown gravy. After that meal, we all decided that we were fans of pub grub!

We enjoyed a tasty lunch at O'Neill's pub in London.

Craig had to try the "bangers and mash" at O'Neill's.

With only the afternoon and evening in London, we chose to board one of the double decker buses for a hop-on, hop-off tour. We saw some amazing sights: the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and so on. I was a typical gaping tourist, camera in hand, awed by the sights and sounds of England's capital. I particularly enjoyed the walk along the Thames. The area was crowded, yet seemed very safe, and the throngs of visitors were all in a festive mood. The weather was in a good mood, too, as the clouds thinned and sunlight brightened the scene.

The London Eye.

Big Ben, of course.

The Tower of London.
The Tower Bridge.
The four of us enjoyed a boat tour on the Thames, which showed us many of the sights we had viewed from the bus, but from a different perspective. I'm not sure any of ever stopped smiling as we turned our heads this way and that to view the iconic buildings and attractions. We all agreed that we will have to return to London in the future for a more extensive visit. 

Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.

The Tower Bridge, London UK

Before making our way back to the hotel that evening, we stopped for dinner at another pub, The Skinners Arms. It seemed like a typical English pub and was lavishly decorated with old photos, ads, and other memorabilia. The staff and other customers were all friendly and welcoming. One couple even gave up their table for four and moved to a smaller one so that we would not have to wait. Mathieu and I decided that it was time to try the fish and chips, and we were not disappointed! Craig ordered a steak and Guiness pie, which was topped with puff pastry and looked wonderful. Darcy chose the salmon, which was served with roasted potatoes and green beans. We walked slowly back to the hotel and were soon ready for bed. It had been an exhausting day, though a very delightful one. 

Of course, I had to try the traditional fish and chips in London.


No comments: