September 2019

Thursday 5 September 2019

We take the metro to Rotterdam Central Station, where we take the 8.28 Eurostar service to Brussels. We arrive there at 9.38 and have to transfer to the Eurostar to London. Because the Netherlands and Eurostarthe United Kingdom do not yet have a treaty on passenger and baggage control for direct trains, we cannot travel directly to London on outbound journey. That will probably be solved in 2020. At the transfer we have to go through a baggage scan and a metal detector. We then have to wait 50 minutes in a relatively small waiting room. At 10.40 the gate opens to platform 1 and we can get on the train. The train leaves for London at 10.56 with a stopover at Lille Europe station. The train runs to Lille at around 300 km / h. Then it goes through the Channel Tunnel at around 150 km / h, after which the train speeds up again and at 250 and later also 300 km / h to London. We arrive on time at 11.58 on London St Pancras. This 19th century station of cathedral-like proportions was renovated in 2007 and is now the proud terminal of the high-speed lines from Brussels and Paris, but now also from Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
From St Pancas we take the Underground 's Piccadilly line and get off one stop further down the line at Russell Square. From here it is a 5 minute walk to the Mercure Bloomsbury hotel, where we will stay for three nights. We rest a while before we take the Underground to Knightsbridge for a High Tea at the Fifth Floor Café of Harvey Nichols department store. We get delicious sandwiches, warm scones Afternoon Teaand sweet mini tarts. It is all delicious. Then back to the hotel, where we take a break.
Around half past five we walk to Holborn Tube Station for the Central Line to Oxford Circus. Then it's a short walk to Poland Street, a side street of Oxford Street. Here is Social Eating House restaurant and bar. It has a Michelin star. We first drink a cocktail in the bar above the restaurant, The Blind Pig, after which we have a delicious dinner downstairs. Erik takes Gazpacho with tomato and mackerel, followed by lamb. I also take the Gazpacho, but then the Asian-spiced Rumpsteak. For desert ice cream or a kind of Cheese cake, but very different.

We take the tube back and drink another coffee at Costa near our hotel.

Weather: rain and 15 degrees in Rotterdam. In London sunny and 20 degrees with a lot of wind.

Vrijdag 6 september 2019

After breakfast at the Mercure hotel we drink coffee at Cafe Nero further down onThe Shard Southampton Row. Then we take the Underground from Holborn station (Central Line) via Bank to London Bridge Station (Northern Line). There is the highest building in the European Union, the Shard, which is 310 meters high and has 72 usable floors. We can not get in before 10 a.m. and that's why we take a walk along the Thames past the new developments of London Bridge City, developed by the real estate company of Kuwait. A cluster of office buildings, residences, shops and restaurants. The HMS Belfast is moored in front as a museum ship. A little further down we see the Tower Bridge and across the river the Tower of London. Close to the Tower Bridge is the spherical new London City Hall, designed by Norman Foster from 2002. From there the More London Street runs from the Riverside to the Shard. Both the Tower Bridge and the Shard can be seen from this narrow street surrounded by high-rise View from the Shardbuildings. The Shard is a design by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and stands on the site of the Southwark Towers, an ugly office complex from 1976. The pyramid-shaped tower was completed in 2012 and serves as an office, hotel, restaurant and viewing tower. The facade is made entirely of glass and has crooked shapes, hence the name.
At 10 o'clock we can go inside and take the elevator to the 69th floor. There is a bar with a view. We can go even higher up to the 72nd floor, which is in the open air. A bar here too. The view is beautiful and the weather great.
After the view we go down and walk to the Borough Market. There has been a market here since the Middle Ages, where food and flowers are sold and served. The market is partly covered and borough Marketis also partly underneath railway overpasses. Borough Market is a lively market with fresh, high-quality produce. We drink coffee at Monmouth and eat  at Brindisa, a Spanish tapas restaurant. They also have a shop with Spanish specialties. Erik also eats a Scotch Egg, a meatball with a cooked egg in it at the Ginger Pig.

We're going back to the hotel. In the afternoon we visit the British Library, the national library of Great Britain. The library houses 170 million documents, including a copy of the Magna Carta from 1215 and an original Borough MarketGutenberg bible. But also manuscripts by the Beatles. These precious books are on display. The building was designed by Colin St John Wilson and was opened by the Queen in 1998. The library was moved here from the British Museum in 1973. The King's Library collection is positioned centrally in the building. The collection of old books was collected by King George III and donated to the library in 1824 by George IV.

In the evening we eat the pre-theater menu at Andrew Edmunds in Soho, after which we see the musical "Everybody is talking about Jamie" at the Apollo theater. Good show with a nice story about a student who wants to become a drag queen.

Weather: 17 degrees cloudy

Saturday 7 September 2019

We drink coffee at Cafè Nero and then take the metro to South Kensington. We arrive there just before nine o'clock. Far too early for the Victoria & Albert Museum. That's why we walk to KensingV&A Rafael Cartoonston Gardens and Hyde Park. We see the Albert Memorial and the opposite Royal Albert Hall, where the BBC Proms summer concerts are now taking place. We walk to the Princess Diana memorial fountain on the edge of the Serpentine Lake. Unfortunately the fountain has not been turned on yet. That starts at 10 a.m. The fountain is a large circle of running water on hilly terrain. Visitors can walk round and are called upon to do so. The solar boat on the Serpentine Lake starts its tours from 12 o'clock onwards. We walk back to the Exhibition Road, a mixed pedestrian and car area that passes by a number of important museums: the Science Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Victoria & Albert. The latter we are going to visit. We're going in at the Sackler Courtyard entrance. The collection of art and design is incredibly large and versatile, so we have to make choices. We start with the Raphael Cartoons. These are not cartoons, but designs for carpets by the medieval Italian painter Raphael, made on paper ("Cartone"). They are New Testament scenes. The room is dimly lit due to the fragility of the pigments. Then we walk to the South Asia room for the Tipu tiger - an automaton that represents a Tiger that overcomes a British soldier - and the throne of the first and last Sikh emperor Ranjit Singh. We walk on to the Middle East room with the Ardabil carpet, a very old Persian carpet from the 16th century. We walk through the China and Japan rooms and then go to the Cast Courts. Here are life-sized plaster copies of, among others, tSculpture Gallery at V&Ahe column of Trajan and the David of Michelangelo. We also see one of the entry portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the pulpit of the Cathedral of Pisa. Along the inner garden is a sculpture gallery with 10 statues that were donated to the museum by August Rodin in 1914. We get a bit tired and  move straight on to the third floor. Here we look at the British silverware and the jewels, including some that belonged to Napoleon, his wife an adoptive daughter.Further on in the theatre department we see costumes worn by Adam Ant, Elton John and ABBA’s Björn Ulvæus. Also costumes from musicals such as the Lion King and various editions of plays by Shakespeare.
Then we go downstairs and have lunch in the museum café. It is the first museum café in the world and is beautifully decorated with tile work, stained glass windows, pilasters and frieze. After the museum visit we take the Tube back to the hotel.
Leadenhall Market
Later in the afternoon we go to the Leadenhall Market. A market in the City of London borough. Market vendors off in weekdends, but the pubs are open to tourists. The covered market looks beautifully decorated. The roof was installed at the end of the 19th century and the frames of the shop windows in red and yellow are beautiful. We have a drink in one of the pubs and then walk to the banks of the Thames. I take photos for a timelapse of the river and the Tower Bridge. Then we take the bus (from London Bridge) to a cocktail bar in Bloomsbury, the Coral Room. Beautifully styled bar where we drink an original cocktail. Then via our hotel to the restaurant Ciao Bella a few blocks away from the hotel. It is a classic Italian Osteria. Very noisy, but reasonable in quality. Expensive.

In the evening we go to Soho and visit three gay bars (The Yard, Ku Bar and Rupert Stree Bar). Far too loud for our taste.

Weather: cloudy, 18 degrees

Sunday 8 September 2019

  We take the Underground (CentrRegent Canalal and Bakerloo lines) to Warwick Avenue. From there it is a short walk to Little Venice, a neighborhood around a crossing of the Regent Canal and the Paddington part of the Union Canal. It looks nice, but the nickname of the area is somewhat over rated. The Regent Canal was dug in the early 19th century as a connection between Birmingham and the new ports in the East End of London. Its function was soon taken over by the railways. We walk along the Regent Canal towards Camden Lock. It is a beautiful stretch along many bridges and a water tunnel. Barges and narrow boats ply the narrow canal. Most as a tour boat and you can also rent an electric barge. The walk goes past Regent's Park and the London Zoo and after more than 5 km we arrive in busy Camden Town, where a daily flea market is held around the Camden Lock lock and there is an abundance of Street Food stalls. We have a drink and then walk to Namaaste Kitchen, a modern Indian restaurant on the Parkway. We eat a delicious curry there.
Camden Lock
Then by bus to the hotel. On the way, the bus knocks off the side mirror of an incorrectly parked car, which leads to some delay. The driver has to record the damage and take photos of the damaged car.

We rest for a while in the hotel before I head out to make timelapses at Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus.
At four o'clock we go to St Pancras Station. We go through the luggage and ID card checks and then have to wait until we can board the train, about 15 minutes before departure. The train leaves at 5.19 p.m. The train journey is going according to plan. We are offered a light meal and something to drink twice in  first class. At 21.32 we are in Rotterdam. There is no Uber available, so we take the metro home.

Weather: chilly in the morning, 11 degrees. 19 degrees in the afternoon. Sunny.

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