Day 7 and Day Huit: London to Paris

6/8/2013 Saturday 8:50 am


On our last full day in London, Glenda and I realized we needed to divide in order to conquer!  I wanted to visit with a college friend of mine, Justin Yoo, whom I hadn’t seen in (dare I say it) nearly 20 years, and Glenda had a burning need to go… shopping!  So while I went to visit Justin near University College London, Glenda went to Cath Kidston, Daunt Books again, strolled Marylebone High Street looking at fancy French shops, then on to Persephone Books near Bloomsbury Square, to the British Museum (strolling through the Great Hall and a few rooms of its vast offerings), grabbed a sandwich at Pret (we’re on a first-name basis now) and rode a double-decker bus from Trafalgar Square to Tower of London.  Whew!  (Glenda adds: it was such a pleasure to browse and visit Persephone Books in person–I’ve been a fan of their small-print publishing house for years.)

I had a glorious reunion with Justin–who was, along with me–was one of the first three guitar students ever at Oberlin Conservatory of Music!  Justin ended up changing directions from guitar and went into acting, lived in London, New York and LA, did some screenwriting, and then returned for a Masters in Archeology at UCL and is now getting his PhD in Egyptology at King’s College.  Wowza!

Here we are looking at Jeremy Bentham, a founder of University College London.  This is a little gross.  In accordance with his wishes, his skeleton and head (the whole head) were preserved.  The body was donated for dissection and study.  Under the clothes in this case – which were his real clothes – is his actual skeleton.  And for a long time his real head, placed between his feet, was also displayed.  Though apparently it got pretty nasty and folks became offended.  The head on his shoulders here is a wax reproduction.


1 UCL Fouder


One of several impressive UCL buildings.



This is apparently the original UCL building.  On the campus were these beautiful buildings along with a nice park, and a food festival that we walked through.  Just a reminder that in London just about anywhere you go you’ll find something of beauty and interest!


3 UCL Old Building


And here are Justin and I at a pub – Justin had Bangers and Mash (sausages atop mashed potatoes with gravy–an English pub staple) and I had a veggie burger.  Fantastic seeing an old friend, and having a chance to catch up.

5 Matt Justin Pub


Glenda and I reconnected after lunch and decided to spend our final evening in our neighborhood with a stroll through Regent’s Park and a nice Italian dinner on Marylebone High Street.  On the way to Regent’s Park we passed 221b Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes, and stopped for a photo!


6 Matt Sherlock Holmes Museum


We had visited Regent’s Park earlier in the week, but the weather has been so lovely that we wanted to take advantage of the sunshine.  The park’s gorgeous and quite varied, and this evening we visited more formal gardens.  I was struck, as I have been all week, at the extraordinary number of Londoners out enjoying public spaces with picnics, walks and sports.  So refreshing!


7 Regents Park


Dinner!  We went to an Italian Restaurant called Getti for dinner and enjoyed the last bit of twilight at an outdoor table.  I had ravioli in a Gorgonzola sauce, Glenda had Linguine ala Bolognese.  I want to mention that the gorgeous bright scarf she’s wearing was handmade this spring by her, specifically for this trip! (Glenda adds: so I can look all Continental and sophisticated.)


8 Italian Food


We didn’t make it too much further before another Italian place, Caffe Caldesi, called to us for dessert.  Glenda went for espresso and I had a spicy pepper martini–and satisfied a teeny savory craving I had for Caprese Salad with phenomenal locally-made buffalo mozzarella, before our dessert of Tiramisu.  Here we are toasting our friend Claire, who had a birthday that day, albeit back home in Austin.


9 More Italian Food


We walked quite a bit more before this shot–all the way down to Oxford Street for some evening window shopping at the big department stores like Selfridge’s and Topshop–before returning to “The Beehive” on our street.  We passed this Pub each day on our outings and wanted to stop in before departing the city.  Hooray beer!


10 Beehive


And then (the next morning) it was time to head to Paris!  Here Glenda applies copious amounts of clotted cream to her freshly baked scone in St. Pancras Station as we wait for the Eurostar train that will speed us through the chunnel and on to Paris.


11 Scone at St


Et Voilá!  We arrived at the Gare du Nord ready for our next adventure!  Just look at that big smile!


12 Paris!



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