Started with brunch in South Kensington with a friend from my mission who I haven’t seen in ages, but who is also American and also expatting in London. No pics of brunch, but it was fun to catch up. In many ways we’re still the 20-year-olds we were in Brussels; but in other ways those days are long gone (for better or for worse).
After brunch I explored South Kensington. It’s a beautiful, posh, touristy part of town — and in terms of London life might as well be a completely different city from where I live. Like New York, London is made of many insular neighborhoods and once you’ve nested in one, you really have to make an effort to venture out.
First thing I found: Skandium, a Scandinavian design shop, which happened to have exactly the dish I had been looking for for months! Seriously, months ago I said to myself that I wanted some small, blue-and-white handpainted dishes with watertight lids that I could use for individual portions of the muesli that I eat in the mornings and sometimes take to work (these dishes would be a prettier alternative to tupperware). The problem was that I could find no such dish anywhere. . . until today.
There on the shelf was a pretty little blue-and-white handpainted dish with a lid, made by Royal Copenhagen, who apparently has been making dishes for the Danish royalty since 1775. I instantly bought out the store’s entire stock.
Then I made my way to the V&A museum, which conveniently has public restrooms, beautiful collections, and no admission fee — so I could stay as long as I wanted and not feel bad when it wasn’t all that long. Highlights were a Turkish embroidered textile from the 1500s and a European tapestry featuring a lady with a dress lined with the fur of Baltic squirrel tummies (apparently quite the luxury).
I thought about going into the Museum of Natural History . . .
. . . but decided I couldn’t handle the crowds (seriously, child-friendly venues are the worst for crowds) and instead headed to Hyde Park. It was glorious.
From the Round Pond over to Kensington Palace for the gardens. The Sunken Garden was splendid with its springtime blooms.
After that I wended my way over to Notting Hill and Portobello Road Market. The area is completely charming and picturesque and I didn’t take a single photograph because it was mobbed with tourists and I just couldn’t even. I had been hoping to find some good antiques stalls, and there were a few that caught my eye, but I didn’t see anything that needed to be bought.
From there back home for a quick bite to eat and chat with Justin before heading out to the Barbican for another night at the theatre. This time it was Pericles, another Shakespeare play that I needed to cross off my list. This is one of the more obscure plays of Shakespeare’s so I was happy to finally see it — also because it was performed in French (but since the supertitles were the original script I’m counting it as seeing it in the original form…).
The play was well done, but boy is it weird. Completely fantastical, the plot bounces around the ancient Mediterranean with incest, famine, shipwrecks, death in childbirth, abandoned daughters, murderous step-mothers, soft-hearted executioners, virtuous prostitutes, miraculous revivals, the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, outrageous coincidences, and one completely implausible happy ending. Want more details? Here’s a synopsis.