Friday, July 31, 2009


Today began at Spitalfield's Market. Don't know why we didn't take pictures there. Oh, maybe because I was too busy oohing and aahing and wanting to buy everything. I used b'day money from my in-laws to treat myself to an inexpensive but totally darling dress (I was very spendthrifty though) and then felt all happy satisfied shopper. I could have spent hours walking around and gawking at clothes and prints and jewelry and everything else but we had to move on to the glory land of white marble staircases and dark wooden shelves and stacks and stacks of paper and parchment and vellum bound between leather covers:

Nerd alert! I loved it. Like Disneyland for the Brit Lit Addicts.

The library was lovely but I didn't do any real "scholar stuff." Meaning I did not have an appointment for a reading room, so I did not have to empty my bag and wash my hands and take only a pencil and clean paper into a room with me. Instead, we shoved our stuff in a locker just so we didn't have to carry it and wandered the open exhibit, which was no BFD. You know, just a Gutenberg Bible, Da Vinci's notebooks, the Codex Sinaiticus, the Magna Carta, and excerpts from letters and journals written by Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Viriginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll, and Sylvia Plath. Among others. Also song lyrics handwritten by the Beatles. Basically, it rocked my world.

Newton does something mathematical and/or scientific in the courtyard of the library. Also, he is naked.

We left the library for lunch, intending to find the legendary (I use that word loosely) Drummond Street and get some good cheap Indian food.

An hour later, I realized why I failed the map-reading portion of the Iowa Basics test in sixth grade and why David insists that he suffers from mild dyslexia. We had no freaking idea where we were or where this alleged street of restaurants was and I was hungry to the point of homicidal.

My mom gave us a London Map Book that is super great. But doesn't include the British Library. Freaking Rick Steves recommended this stupid street o' restaurants but didn't give clear directions for reaching it from the museum. And my London moleskin book's map is woefully inadequate and breaks up maps inconveniently making them difficult to read when you have to keep flipping from page 2 to page 6.

So after walking for an hour (including a lap around a rather seedy looking apartment complex) I was starving and if David had made eye contact with me he would have died a la Medusa so I was walking very fast which meant David was always a step or two behind him which annoyed me beyond reason even though a part of me understood that he would not want to walk next to me for fear of death.

Finally I insisted that we go back to the library and eat at the freaking chain sandwich place across the street because it was that or I claw David's face off and eat that for lunch. I was that hungry.

A couple sandwiches and a bag of popcorn later I had recovered myself and buried my homicidal tendencies and we skipped back into the library to see the Henry VIII display (we're like totally into Henry VIII these days). We observed his journey from sexy young king to fat and bloated tyrant and mourned a little bit for his six wives.
David, relieved I did not murder and devour him for lunch. Also -- Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts at King's Cross Station!

Back near our hotel, we decided we wanted tapas for dinner so ventured down to Charlotte Street (word on the street has it that this is a hopping area but not yet too trendy so still affordable). The tapas place we wanted was booked so we put in reservations for tomorrow night and wandered around until we found an Italian joint with an accordion player. I'm a sucker for accordion players and D suddenly decided he was craving risotto. The place was all open-front so it was breezy and very Tuscan with dark wooden beams and white stucco walls and shiny copper pans for decoration. A big portrait of the owners was on the back wall and they were there in person-- a cute elderly Italian couple who shook our hands when we left and wanted to make sure our food was very good. D forgot about risotto and ended up ordering the Pesca alla Sophia Loren (some sort of halibut) and I asked the waiter if he recommended the rigatoni with gorgonzola or the tortellini with spinach. He smiled and shouted something at me in Italian, scribbled on his notepad, and left. So I assumed he had ordered for me... Yes, the tortellini was delicious.

Tomorrow promises to be a museum overload followed by some time wandering/lounging/people watching in Regents Park. You can't wait!

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