Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Four "F" Words - Food, Fashion, Fabrics, and Fun: Day 1

I'm taking a little side street here on my blog. For the next three weeks, I'm not sewing. I won't be posting much about sewing or vintage sewing machines. Rather, I'll be talking about my first trip to Europe~!  I'm sure there will be many sewing related encouters and I'll talk about that. 
This trip is all about Food, Fashion, Fabrics, and Fun.  Four "F" words. Theses are good "F" words.
It started wih this. Back in 2008, Rick Steves was the guest at the Seattle Men's' Chorus concert. I suddenly realized I've never been to Europe, and I must go!  Bought a copy of his book, autographed, and the word "Europe" entered into my consciousness.

Fast forward to 2011. Got serious about actually planning the trip, after a friend of mine said; "Hey, let's go to Paris!"  I thought, "sure".  My son and I began our savings plan. We wanted to go in 2013, but we weren't ready.  We stuck to our savings plan, and this year, we made it real. Along the way several friends wanted to join us, but including the original one who proposed Paris, couldn't actually make it. Things change, situation change, life happens, and it's ok. 
For me, this  might be the last year to do it since we will probably be busy visiting prospective collages for my son next summer. He'll be a junior this fall.

I'm smiling since we are finally on board to London. My son, whom I'm going to call LB here, is smiling big because the plane was equipped with personal video screens loaded with movies, hundreds of hours of worth. "Well, I'd better get started. I can get four movies in 9 hours.", he said.  Air Canada was very nice.
I did some "binge" reading on London the last four weeks or so.  I wanted to learn some practical "life skills" getting around in London.  One of the things I learned was that you buy an Oyster card to get a good deal on subway and bus fares.  We headed to the Oyster vending machines once we landed in London.  
As I stood in front of the vending machine trying to figure out the pricing system, whether we should get a regular Oyster card or Traveler Oyster Card, a station attendant came over and helped us figure out which was a better way.  He even gave us the card carrying case which came in so handy once we checked into the hostel we are staying the next three days and they handed us a card key to our room.

 Our hostel is in the Swiss Cottage neighborhood. I don't know if that is actually what this neighborhood is called, but it's a three-minute walk from the Swiss Cottage station.  As we got off at the Swiss Cottage station, there was a weekly Farmers' Market happening.  Lucky us!
Our first meal in London was this.

Lemon-yoghurt chicken. 

We took it to a nearby park and ate. Yum. 

Then, we found a theatre right behind the park. Was curious, stepped in and had tea in their cafe. They have two different shows going. We may come back to see it. We love theatre. 

Then we found another little theatre across the street from the Hampstead theatre. Another one! 

It's their last day of "Brink Festival". What's that?? We stepped inside to ask. Turns out, this is the University of London's theatre school. They have three short one or two person acts tonight.  We put our names on the ticket list of one that sounded good. It was free! It was "sold out" last night. So it must be good. 

Aspiring high school theatre student admiring the sign of the school. 

We then took a stroll around the neighborhood. It's really a nice and quiet

Many pretty things. 

And cute things. 

This street has two little Japanese grocers and one Japanese (but very European) bakery.  (I'll explain what that means some other time)

Then we turned and went out to the main street near the Tube station, and hit the supermarkets. My favorite place to visit when I'm traveling!!

This is a cake. 

Nice seafood department. 

Awwww! I wish I were more hungry so I could eat endlessly!!

They had lots of cake decorating things. 

One of the supermarkets we went. 

I tell you, though I no way have visited everywhere in the world, but so far, US (maybe Canada, too??) is the only place the stores keep eggs in refrigeration. I could only guess -- but why?  No place else I've seen. Not even in countries with much hotter climate. 

Hard ginger beer! I must try next time. I was too full to even consider buying one. I love ginger beer but have never had a hard ginger beer.

I'm not sure about chocolate coated wasabi peas though. 

Still full from lunch, we decided to buy a salad, salami/prosciutto pack, and these cute mini strawberries for dinner. I knew these little berries would be good and local. They look like what I get from my back yard.  

Went back to catch the 8:00 show at the theatre school (which by the way was very good - had lots to do with my interest and profession), my son collapsed into bed. So I'm about to enjoy the dinner by myself before going to bed.

No fashion or fabrics today, but had a lovely day. 

Have you ever visited London? What is/was your favorite thing to so besides the usual tourist activities?

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