My cousin Cecilia (Cici) and I were born just 4 days apart, and since 1992 we’ve managed to have a number of good adventures together. The last adventure included one of her college roommates, Hailey, as they took on London like champs. I mentioned that Matilda, Westminster Cathedral, and Cadogan Hall in my previous post; here are a few more of the highlights from their visit.
Afternoon tea the Vauxhall Tea House Theatre:
Definitely gave me memories of living in Martha Cook, the University of Michigan residence hall that enjoys Wednesday sit down dinners, Friday afternoon teas, and a number of other lovely traditions. 🙂 This tea, a pretty good representation of traditional British tea, featured black (vanilla) tea with brown sugar cubes and full cream with a 3 tiered cake stand:
– Bottom = finger sandwiches (tuna and coronation chicken)
– Middle = scones + on-site made strawberry preserves + clotted cream (almost butter, but by calling it ‘cream’ you put on 25x more than would be acceptable for butter)
– Top = dessert. Sometimes little cakes, but this time we feasted on vanilla bean ice-cream and brownies that I’d gamble to say were even better than Zingerman’s.
We enjoyed this so much that Cecilia and I recreated the experience back at my flat on her last full day here. That version even featured a meat pie from Borough market. 🙂
Stonehenge / Old Sarum / Salisbury Cathedral
Since Cecilia was able to visit for a full week, we were able to explore London together and take a side trip. So many options to choose from! We settled on Stonehenge with our decision influenced by the fact that this was the Equinox. I had read about some pagan rituals that were supposed to occur at sunrise, but the logistics became exponentially more complicated and expensive when planning outside of regular public transportation hours. Instead, we enjoyed a morning train ride to Salisbury, and then caught the bus to arrive at Stonehenge just before noon.
This worked out quite well because we not only enjoyed the beautiful spring sunshine but also a dance performance (?) by a group of people in costumes. I agree with Cici’s guess: perhaps these were the pagans that overslept.
After Stonehenge, we enjoyed walking around Old Sarum and then picnicing in the city of Salisbury before heading to Evensong at the Salisbury Cathedral.
I also had the delightful surprise of receiving a message from one of our Polish cousins– he (L) and his girlfriend (M) were in London for the weekend! L had previously lived in London for a few weeks while taking English classes, but insisted that I should be the tour guide. No pressure haha. This provided an excellent opportunity to try out some of ‘London’s best’ restaurants that I had been reading about, AND take a ride in a black cab. Another tick on the London bucketlist. 🙂
Our first choice was a tapas bar, but it didn’t take reservations and when we arrived (as to be expected on a Saturday night in London) it was literally overflowing with people. But sticking with good SWE event planning stragies, I had made a reservation (the last reservation at that time!) for a table at a well-reviewed restaurant called Antico down the street. Wowza was the food delicious! I feasted on a octopus / shallots / rocket greens (arugala) salad for my primo, a halibut steak (massive!) for my secundo, and a torte for dessert. The only downside was that (being a Saturday) they booked two rounds of guests, so as soon as our desserts were served the waitress began encouraging us to leave. Fine. Time for a walk across Tower Bridge, particularly beautiful at night. 🙂 My cousin is an architect, which made it even more interesting admiring London’s nighttime cityscape.
These moments go so quickly! Seems like yesterday that I was moving in, but alas final exam papers are soon approaching. The more adventures that I take, the more and more convinced I become that life is better when shared. Thanks so much for indulging me with a visit, Cecilia!
Major photo credits to Cici. 🙂 I snapped a few of these, but again– twice as nice when shared! xx