The first few days in London have been surreal and magical. While there has been a drizzle of rain every once in a while, the sun has finally convinced the clouds to stay at bay and with upper seventy degree temperatures, it is the perfect weather for endless sightseeing and soaking in the Olympic international energy.
The tube is a tremendous help in getting around (“Mind the Gap!”), and with an Oyster card in hand (thank you Emily, Dave and Kim for all the help with this item), it allows for more sights to be seen. Amazingly enough even with rides from one station to the next, I would say that five miles each day are easily traversed. Which means that the impressive plate of fish and chips last night devoured at Pembroke pub while watching the women’s 200m, the men’s 110 hurdles was thoroughly enjoyed without an ounce of guilt.
I’ve gathered together a smattering of photos from the past two days. While you take a look, I’m out the door to soak in some rare London sun and discover Covent Gardens and the Theater district. Have a lovely Thursday!
~During the first full day, late night was the ideal time to walk down to Tower Bridge and capture the symbolic image of the London 2012 Olympics – the rings. Along the river, many people were strolling and snapping, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. ~
~Across the street from Fortnum & Mason in the West Side, I discovered one of the two mascots for the 2012 Olympics – Wenlock (his partner is Mandeville), said to have both been created from two drops of steel from the Olympic stadium – click here to learn a bit of history behind the names. And if you’re visiting London in the next two years, they will still be on display to be discovered. ~
~The historic high tea and gourmet grocery and shopping destination, Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly Street. ~
~Hugh Mason & William Fortnum met in 1705. Mason, an owner of a small shop in St. James Market and Fortnum arriving in the area with his family who came from Oxford in hopes of helping rebuild the area after the Great Fire. In 1707, the store officially opened. With six floors of goods – tea, coffee, chocolate, jams & chutneys, wine, lingerie, and three restaurants, as well as an exquisite room for high tea, this grocery exceeds the definition of what a grocery store is expected to offer. ~
~ A chandelier leads the way into The Gallery dining area in Fortnum & Mason where I had the fortunate opportunity to meet with DeeAnne, founder of Live the Charmed Life blog and website. The service was pleasurable, no rush or perpetual unnecessary checking in, and most importantly, we ended with a pot of jasmine green tea as we talked endlessly. If only we would have had a few more hours, we could have easily filled it. ~
~Fortnum & Mason Darjeeling Green tea. I do believe I will be picking out a tin or two before hopping on the plane. ~
~The beautiful wooden staircase in Fortnum & Mason leading to the many floors of luxury. ~
~The entry to the first floor where tea, coffee, chocolate, jams, chutneys and The Gallery dining room are located. ~
~The building I wish I could get to the other side of, if only I had $500 for a ticket to the gold medal match (will be stopping into a pub to view instead which will be quite enjoyable as well). The Horse Guards Parade is where Beach Volleyball is played here in London during the Olympics, and where Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh took home gold last night. Congratulations ladies on standing atop the podium for the third straight year! ~
~Harrods was impressive. While I have no room in my suitcase for much extra, the gourmet grocery was a special treat. After carefully selecting a traditionally English lunch, a few sweets and a drink, Hyde Park was just a few blocks away for a picnic in the sun and soft breezes of temperate London. ~
~The Olympic mascots are all over the city dressed up in a variety of costumes. We discovered doctor Wenlock along the South Bank of the Thames. ~
~Along the South Bank along the Thames, Big Ben is across the way right alongside Parliament and Westminster Abbey. To be surrounded by such endless history and magnificent buildings is mind-boggling. ~