Friday, April 1, 2011

Six Hours

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What would you do if you only had 
six hours to spend in London?
Since my dad was already there on business, we made arrangments to meet up at his South Kensington flat at three thirty on the afternoon of my arrival, so that we could spend the rest of the day together. At that point I'd been traveling for eighteen hours, and I still had the final leg of my journey to Karen's home in Gloucester awaiting me early the next morning. And with jetlag burning holes in my eyeballs, I knew it wouldn't be a late night, estimating that we had about six hours until I'd turn into a pumpkin.

Before I tell you how we spent those precious hours, let me share some of the considerations:
  • I love museums. But even though three of London's best museums are in spitting distance from our flat, I knew any one of them would gobble all of my time away. Plus, let's be honest, a museum would be totally wasted on my glazed eyeballs and foggy brain. When it comes to jetlag, it's best to keep moving.
  • Normally I might be tempted to go shoe shopping, but definitely not with my dad in tow. 
  • We tried to get tickets to the popular West End musical Frankenstein, but the show was completely sold out. Evidently the (in)famous opening scene of Frankenstein involves a male actor standing buck naked on the stage, exploring the intricacies of his newly formed body. Hmmm. Sounds very European to me. No wonder it was sold out.
  • Whenever I visit London, the thing that I want to do most, the thing that I want to do first, is visit my old neighborhood. And eat. We were completely unanimous on this point, and so we hit King's Road.
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I spent a couple years of my life walking along King's Road and at a glance, I could tell which stores and restaurants were old friends, and which were newcomers. The changes made me a little sad, like when you look at your kids' baby pictures and think, they grew up while I wasn't paying attention! You can't go back, even when you still love what is in front of you.

We visited the gourmet shop Partridges, located near Sloane Square. We stopped at L'artisan de chocolat on Upper Sloane Street where the truffles are handpainted. Winding our way toward Knightsbridge we headed into Harrod's. The food halls on the ground floor of Harrod's make Whole Foods Market look like white trashville. Once there, my dad introduced me to french macaroons, which had to be saved for "breakfast" the next day, lest we spoil our dinner.

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Eventually we headed back to King's Road and dined in a closet-sized Italian restaurant called Ziani. There are only a dozen tables in the whole restaurant and last time my dad was there he was seated next to Daniel Craig. So of course I was hoping, hoping to share spaghetti with James Bond, but alas. No such luck.

It was dark when we walked back to South Kensington, window shopping along the way. I saw a decorative, bejeweled statue of a rhino, that was about as tall as I am and cost eight thousand pounds! We admired jewelry, funky clothes, and of course I slowed down for each and every shoe store. My own feet were aching, but I just love looking at the ridiculously high, strappy heels that real humans cannot actually walk in.

I fell asleep in front of the movie Nottinghill, which was pretty much the perfect end to my day. If I'd had more time I would have expanded my forays to include the National Gallery, the bookstores along Charing Cross Road, and a night time stroll along the Thames Embankment near Chelsea Bridge. But given the time we had, for me, it was perfect.


  1. why was i sitting here with all my kids, entertaining them for a whole week of spring break, while you were fine dining and walking the streets of London. I'm totally jealous, and so happy for you at the same time. Wish I'd been there!

  2. I think you should remind yourself how totally awesome you are for being that friend who stayed home with my kids while I was fine dining in London. The happy glow of service is almost as fulfilling as chocolate from l'artisan de chocolat. Right?


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