While I’m busy ignoring the tickle in my throat, a week before I leave for Perth (at least it’s a whole week!), let’s keep the London-goodness coming, blog-style. And I promise that Day #2 will be shorter than Day #1 (which required two posts).
We started the morning with a run along the Regent’s Canal. There were other runners out, as well as plenty of bikes. The path was a bit narrow for everyone, but somehow, it worked – and no one ended up in the water. But this does raise a question I often struggle with:
How do I reconcile my desire for seeing MORE people out running, hiking, and biking…with my desire for a clear and uncongested path/trail for my own runs?
I have no answer, but am willing to take suggestions!
Anyway, we ran past lots of anchored canal boats, and quite a few locks, including the infamous Camden Lock – the site of the Camden Lock Market. Stalls and vendors were already getting set up, and I spied a fresh fruit juice stall, an Ethiopian food stall, and a chocolate stall – just to name a few. Unfortunately, we only ever ran through the area in the early mornings – we never stopped back when everything was open for business.
The weather was gorgeous. Temps were about 60-65°F (15-18°C): perfection. I started with some goosebumps, got a bit sweaty while we ran, then stopped sweating almost immediately after I stopped running. This was amazing. Thank you, temperate climate!
After our run, we headed out to the Bloomsbury Farmer’s Market. There are TONS of markets all over London, where vendors sell locally grown/raised/made fruits & veggies, meats, and cheese. There is also prepared food available in abundance, from freshly sliced Italian meats on chewy bread, to falafel burgers, to pasta creations, to hot dogs, to anything and everything in between. The Bloomsbury Market is quite small, but was very close to our hotel. So we procured peaches, nectarines, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, and tomatoes to stash in our room for breakfast and snacks.
We also bought ourselves some lunch, and ate on the ground in a sunny plaza, along with the locals – mostly employees from a nearby University. KMN enjoyed a hot dog (cooked by the folks who raised the pigs…talk about local!), and I found some pasta. The pasta vendors were boiling the pasta (which I think they hand-made) over a gas burner, on site. The pasta was al dente, the cheese was fresh and gooey, the sauces were neither too sweet nor too acidic – heavenly! And this enormous portion (KMN helped me polish it off) came for just £5 ($7.50 USD, $10 SGD). Worth every penny.
After dropping off our fruit loot at the hotel, we headed off for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre!! This is a reproduction of the original Globe Theater, built on pretty much exactly the same site as it was in Shakespeare’s day, along the River Thames. Construction of the original Globe in 1599 was funded by the theater company to which Shakespeare belonged. When that structure burned down in 1613 (thanks to an errant canon blast during a production of Henry VIII), it was rebuilt immediately, and survived until 1644, when Puritanical anti-arts sentiment resulted in its closure and destruction. The modern day reconstruction was done with many of the traditional materials and methods that would have been used in Shakespeare’s time.
Today, the theater performs and hosts both classical and modernized versions of Shakespeare’s plays – as well as other productions, as well. Tickets for Shakespeare’s plays sell out well in advance, so we were out of luck there. However, we were able to purchase £5 “Groundling” tickets for an afternoon production of Gabriel. The weather was splendid, although the sun position was terrible, as we tried to snap some photos before the show began:
Gabriel was an unusual show, designed to showcase the music of the famous English composer Henry Purcell. The show was set during Purcell’s lifetime, in the late 1600s, and was composed of several shorter skits all woven together by one main character – and his trumpet. I think the trumpet (and trumpetress) were the best part of the show! Gabriel wasn’t a particularly awesome show – but I would recommend the experience to anyone who wanted to take in a show at the Globe (or who really loved Purcell’s work, I suppose).
After the show, we enjoyed a very well put-together exhibition on Shakespeare, the Globe Theatre (the old and the modern reconstruction), and a “behind-the scenes” look at the staging details of some of Shakespeare’s shows (costumes, fighting, special effects, etc.). This was actually quite cool, and we were both a bit sad that the exhibition closed before we examined every little detail. 🙂
I wish I could tell you all about the terrific dinner and evening we enjoyed…but honestly, we both fell asleep at about 7 PM. The plan was a “short nap” before dinner, but a nap turned into sleeping until 11PM turned into “getting dinner is too much work, let’s just sleep until morning.” So we did.
And that, my friends, was the exciting end to our second day in London.How do you feel about jet lag sleep: “Dang, I needed that!” or “Waste of time, I’m on VACATION!”
Favorite “summer” fruit?
What’s your vote: More people out running/hiking/biking, or emptier trails for yourself?