London Adventure - Part One

January 20, 2008 (Sunday)

Got to Trafalgar Square before National Gallery opened at 10am. What a refreshing morning with slightly chilly air and quiet streets! But the sky was grey and stayed mostly so throughout the rest of my trip.

As I've only got limited time, I rushed to see the highlights: Monet, Van Gogh's Sunflowers and Cypress, Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Betrothal etc. Joined a one-hour free guided tour which looked at four highlights. The tour was illuminating.

At 1pm or so, we went to Covent Garden to see if there's any street performers and the market. There was a guy mimicking passers-by in a hilarious way. Later on he did juggling while standing on one leg on a rope. There were four or five young guys playing string instruments at a restaurant. They surely knew how to heat it up with the audience, who happily applauded for them. On the whole the Covent Garden Sunday market was not as crowded and diverse as I imagined. We passed by Chinatown on our way to tube station. London's Chinatown's just the size of Philly's. No match for NYC's mega-huge Chinese clusters.

The highlight of the day was an afternoon tea at a recommended hotel. The four of us ordered three sets but still couldn't finish it. The fact is after you ate all the sandwiches on the bottom tier, you're most certainly 70% full already. The salmon one and ham and cheese sandwiches are my personal favorites. I can’t remember much for the cakes in the middle tier, except for the cream strawberry fruit tart. What a shame I couldn't eat just one more scone with cream. The scones are divinely delicious and go perfectly well with the cream. My champagne tea set comes with a glass of house champagne and a mixed blend tea with Assam. It costs ₤25. Tea time started at 3pm and we hung about till 6.