London Adventure - Part Four

January 23, 2008 (Wed)

We saw some delicate clocks and the cute Lewis Chessmen at a temporary gallery at British Museum. And then the Japanese collection, and an original painting by China’s Gu Kaizhi.

The restaurant "Fifteen" was located near Old Street Station, away from the bustling downtown. We ordered lamb Pappardelle (a kind of broad and flat pasta) and seafood risotto, cooked by Jamie Oliver’s apprentice and chefs. The lamb was yummy.

The walk uphill to Greenwich’s Royal Observatory was painful for exhausted young people, but the Meridian Line and the scenery were worth the sweat. Descending downhill, we reached the Old Royal Navy College, built by Christopher Wren (the same guy who designed St. Paul’s). I was blown out by the Painted Hall (which appeared in the movie Amazing Grace, which I haven’t seen yet). You would believe in the illusionary carvings and decorations on the pillars and window pane, because they looked so real. The ceiling featured the royal family with deities and personifications of the twelve horoscopes. Exquisite. Would’ve been better to visit the hall (which was free) in broad daylight. But it was windy and freezing cold that day.

We then commuted to Piccadilly Circus. There we visited the upscale food retailer Fortnum & Mason, opened in 1707. The packaging of food items was delicate, and the goodies were pricey. The building was old – I feel like going back to the Victorian age. We found a bargain corner and grabbed some nougats with excellent packaging. I bought some shortbread as well.
Time to rush to Victoria station for the musical. We devoured apple pie, raspberry tart and sandwiches from Paul (yes, that French pastry shop again). Our ₤15 tickets sent us to the last row, to the farthest left. Luckily no one sat next to us, so we moved over to the center. The show was truly ‘phenomenal’ (quoting from promotion leaflet)! I won’t offer any spoiler here. At intermission I gasped to my companions, “OMG this show is AWESOME!”. The last song in the first half was “Defying Gravity”, the most well-known song from this musical I guess. The story continued with a little rush in the second half, though, especially toward the end. On the whole it’s as great as the “Cats” I saw in Philly’s Walnut Street Theater. The acting, lighting, costume, singing and songs all live up to the show’s popularity.