Saturday, January 30, 2016

London - our local pub, Portobello Road, Winter Wonderland, more River Thames

In England, pubs (public houses) are a place of focus for communities. They are welcoming for anyone looking to go hang out and have a chat. This is presented in contrast to bars in the USA and UK that might cater to a certain clientele by making the music loud, fancy design, etc.  Our preferred local pub, the Greenwich Union, is about a half mile away.

Quick video tour of the Greenwich Union.

Anyone who has been out with me know that if I drink at all, it has to be a sugary treat - like a lambic beer. My first time at the Union, they introduced me to Lindeman's Kriek, cherry flavored and delicious.  While savoring the Kriek, KLS and I checked out the beverage menu. Much to my surprise, I found beer from a brewery that my brother Tait introduced me too near Philadelphia, the Sly Fox Brewery.

A 'to go' (take away) container at the pub.

In 1999, I was still in Pittsburgh. Each Wednesday, we would rush to pick up the latest local alternative paper, the City Paper. It had ads for free movie screenings, but to get the passes you then had to go to a random store. We'd grab the paper, hop in the minivan, and drive all over, sometimes picking up multiple passes, as fast as we could because the passes always ran out quickly.  One time, Jay and I got passes to see Notting Hill, which quickly became one of our favorite romantic comedies, and permanently lodged the neighborhood name in my head.  That neighborhood is in London and more or less centers around Portobello Road which turns into a giant antique market every Saturday.

A model of one of London's famous double decker buses.

A bike share in Notting Hill.

An animatronic watchmaker.

This is busy Portobello road on a non-market day. It gets even busier.

A small part of the 326 antique sewing machines collection at the luxury brand AllSaints flagship store in Notting Hill.

  The famous door from the movie is blue again - "in this small village in the middle of a city -- in a house with a blue door"

Houses on Westbourne Park Road in Notting Hill. 

Painted windows of celebrities in Notting Hill. 

Right before the holidays, Christmas villages had cropped up all over the city. KLS wanted to take me to one so our next stop was Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Little did KLS know that Winter Wonderland was not a tiny Christmas village, but a full on carnival that was decked out and redecorated for Christmas. It seemed wildly out of place for Christmas celebrations. It was absolutely amazing.

Standard carnival rides.

Not-so standard Christmas rides.

More carnival rides and games.

I don't think I have ever seen a real bow and arrow at a carnival.

This video might have been the most unusual piece we saw at the carnival and shows how weird co-opting things for Christmas can be.

This photo is for my brother Tait, who watched Airwolf with me growing up.

This creepy decoration kept blinking its eyes and looks like it has a little too much interest in KLS.

This next set of photos is riding the boat home or walking along the Thames. While the tube and buses both run near our house, riding along the river is definitely the best. It does not hurt that KLS has an unlimited pass to ride the boat too.

River Thames.

The rebuilt Globe Theater, make famous by Shakespeare's theater company

The Millennium Bridge in London. This bridge is similar in style to one in Denver of the same name. Did they build one in your city?

Hay's Galleria along the river.

A music school along the river in Greenwich.

Most of the best museums in London are free, including the British Museum. The British museum is huge and has an absurd number of works - like 8 million.  These can cover anything related to human civilization. This was probably one of the most complete museums that I have ever been in. Unfortunately, KLS and I did not enjoy it very much. It was a drizzly day and unbelievably crowded. Instead of going to see a specific exhibit that we could focus on and enjoy, we just perused through many exhibits and didn't dig too deep. We'll have to go back.

Lindsay - this photo is for you. It isn't a dung beetle, but it is the biggest beetle we have seen.

The Great Court of the British Museum.

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