Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All Around in London Town pt. 3

As mentioned in previous posts, my boyfriend Joseph and I were doing the whole long-distance thing for almost 4 months between late February and early June. During that time he missed out on two big occasions - my birthday and our one year (!!!) anniversary. In order to make up for missing out, I suggested he perhaps whisk me away to London to see a play in the West End. I was joking - but he didn't take it jokingly! Once he got all settled in his new apartment in Dublin he booked flights and bought tickets to The Book of Mormon as a birthday/anniversary gift to me.

Best. Gift. Ever.

Those of you who've been following my blog for a while know that I've been to London twice before this trip (you can view those posts here and here) but Joe had never been. I wanted to make sure he got to soak up all of London's touristy goodness, so we started our day by giving Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament a visit, followed by tea with the queen at Buckingham Palace (obviously)

(Fact: Joe is incapable of being normal when I make him take selfies with me)

Afterwards I took him to my favorite London Pub for the most mind-blowing fish n' chips in the world:

Attention Londoners & tourists alike: The pub is in Mayfair and is called Coach & Horses. Listen to me carefully: Go. Your life will change. Jesus himself came down from heaven and bestowed the power of cooking the perfect flaky golden cod to THIS facility. Just do it.

Outside the pub is a little park, and when I saw what was IN the park my jaw dropped.

This fixture is a blown glass piece called "The Sun" by Dale Chihuly. The name isn't listed anywhere and there's no description of it around - I recognized it from when it was in San Francisco in the courtyard of the Palace of Fine Arts. I LOVE Dale Chihuly, so much in fact that I once made a special trip to Seattle to visit his glass garden. This piece has always been my favorite though, and when it left San Francisco I thought I would never see it again. I didn't track it down while I was in London, in fact I didn't even know it was IN London, so the fact that it magically was outside of my favorite pub was just incredible and made me float on cloud 9 for a bit.

After a day of exploring, it was Book of Mormon time! 

I've wanted to see this from the minute it came out and let me tell you - it did not disappoint. It deserved everything it received at the Tony Awards. I laughed so hard that I cried! Definitely NOT something you would want to take your Granny to see (I mean, my Granny would love it, but yours probably won't!) as it is not discrete or polite about any of its controversial topics but if you have an open mind and a dirty horrible sense of humor, you will love it.

Joe and I left the theatre and headed to a late dinner before finding ourselves being begged to go into some ghetto as hell club in our fancy theatre clothes by a club promoter who chatted us up. We figured, eh, why not? But when we got inside and saw a stripper pole and a sign that said "Love Sucks, True Love Swallows" (I wish I was kidding) we were mildly horrified. Considering both of us were sober as judges and not in the mood to get trashed, we decided to make the best of the situation by pretending we were intoxicated and heading to the floor to dance like fools and make out while the DJ blasted 1990s gangster rap. It was pretty magical and actually ended up being super fun.

Day 2 started out with rain, so we headed to Camden Market for some amazing Indian food and treasure hunting. Joe shares my love of flea markets/thrift shops so we ended up spending our entire afternoon searching the stalls before heading to my official birthday/anniversary dinner at a verrrryy fancy-schmancy restaurant that I've been wanting to go to for years, Bob Bob Ricard:

I've seen this place mentioned on some of my favorite travel/lifestyle blogs and it immediately went on my list of things to do in London. Why, you ask? Well, not only because the food is supposed to be bomb, but because this is a feature at all of the tables: 

It was just as cool as it looked, and the food - ohhh my god the fooooood: 

We got an amazing fried mushroom starter, followed by the glory that is the lobster mac n' cheese in the picture above me (the boy went for filet mignon which was equally as sexual) followed by THIS: 

This, my friends, is called "BBR Signature Chocolate Glory" - they deliver it to you as a gold sphere with some raspberries on the side. Very confusing. THEN....they start to pour piping hot liquid chocolate all over the orb until the top of it collapses to reveal an inside of chocolate mousse, brownie bits and passion fruit. 

Uhhhh yeah, I needed a quadruple heart bypass after this dinner but it was so freaking' amazing. I know I don't normally go this in depth about food but this meal was just so dirty that I couldn't spare the details! 

Afterwards we were so full that we just went back to our hotel and collapsed. It was glorious. 

For our last day in London we got up super early and decided to rent bikes and explore Hyde Park: 

It was a beautiful day, perfect for biking. We went all around the lake and tried to visit every little nook that we could. And of course, we paid the famous Peter Pan statue a visit: 

(Standing in front of the statue was a bad idea as you can't see it - however it kind of looks like he's stepping on our heads! Win.) 

Another surprising art find in London - as we were cycling I saw an advertisement for a Marina Abramovic exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery in the park. Marina is a performance artist who uses the audience to create the exhibit. I love her work but I've never been lucky enough to go to one of her performances so I had Joe park the bikes so I could visit. Her performance was very cool. If you don't know who she is I highly recommend you check out her work - I'm especially a fan of "Rhythm: 0" and the exhibit I went to is called "512 Hours." 

That evening we did a little shopping before grabbing some burgers and heading out to catch out flight back to Dublin. Traveling really can make or break a couple, and I'm happy to report that even through a few bits of being irritated from heat/hunger/fatigue/and getting lost, we are the former rather than the latter. Looking forward to tons more trips in the future with this kid. 

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