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National Gallery and some shopping

Fri, Oct 4, 2019

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Today was to be our last day in London so we had some serious shopping to do! Had breakfast at Pret first. Since hubby couldn't find Clarks shoes the day before in Oxford, I googled to see if there was one nearby to our area and there was! It was less than a 10 min walk away - it did take us a few tries to find it as it was in a mall. Before that - we came across a big food fest (I think it's a weekly thing) being set up in a parking lot - tons of 'ethnic' foods - it was too early for us to try anything, but it smelled divine.

In the same mall we found the Clark's store in (hubby did find another pair of shoes to toss in the closet) was a big WH Smith store - and they had so many of the rubber stamping/paper crafting mags that I love - I picked up one for a friend and a totally amazing card making kit one for me. I was tickled, to say the least.

We went back to the room to drop off our purchases before heading in to Leicester Sq. We popped into the LEGO store - they were doing a release of Star Wars LEGO kits and there was some people dressed up like Boba Fett, Darth Vader and a stormtrooper. We've looked in the window before but I'm not sure that we ever ventured in! Well, it was so neat inside - all the huge LEGO models - you could sit in a tube car made of LEGO, there was a 3D LEGO tube map on the wall with lights, Big Ben, a red phone booth you could go in - really neat.

We then walked over to the National Gallery - all the many visits to London and we've never done the Gallery! Well, my cough was still absolutely horrid (imagine me coughing like that now, in the midst of the pandemic! I was chugging water and popping cough drops like nobodies business.) but the paintings were amazing. We had maybe an hour before we had to leave. It is so easy to get turned around in there. I had a few paintings I wanted to see, but we kept stopping to look at others and soon ran out of time - but I did get to see some lovely art (including the Rubens) and when we do get back to London we can hit a different part of the gallery (I'll make sure to actually peruse the map and plan better) - and hopefully I can do it without sounding like I'm bringing up a lung.

I had made reservations to see the Sir John Soane's museum, so we took the tube over that way. Since it was well past lunch, we had to get something fast to eat. Oh look, McDonald's! But the place was packed - we could barely find somewhere to sit - and we didn't get dipping sauce with the nuggets which were the blandest tasting nugs I've had - and I've eaten nugs before with no dipping sauce. OK - we need to get to Sir John's! Well, I went a way that I thought was a bit of a shortcut, but we missed the alley and had to backtrack a half block. Then we were a little lost on the other side as it seemed like the back service entrances to so hotels and what not. So we turned left and went a short block to the correct street. We made it with about a minute to spare! Interesting to see people waiting in line - I guess if there are no shows they can go in.

So - the won't allow you to carry anything on your person - purse/sling bag, camera had to go in a plastic bag. I can't recall if they then checked it, or if you could carry it around. There were free lockers in the basement near the bathrooms and we put our coats in, and I feel like we put the bags in as well. But my memory isn't quite clear. What is clear is the place is packed to the rafters with 'stuff' - lots of Roman busts and pieces of buildings and paintings. I think it took about 30 min for us to go thru - and that includes backtracking to make sure we didn't miss anything as it's a bit mazelike. And again - another reason I love returning to London - I wouldn't really recommend this museum for a first time visitor - maybe not even a 2nd or 3rd time visitor (unless you have a week or two) but for a 8th time visitor it was a nice change.

After that we headed for Shaftsbury Ave so hubby could visit his Forbidden Planet and I could visit Hotel Chocolat! We walked down Neal St and picked up some cupcakes along the way. At some point we visited some shops over near the British Museum and picked up some neighbor gifts and a t-shirt (Prob on the way from Soane's to Planet). I popped into a rubber stamp store I visit every year but I don't think anything caught my eye.

We were getting loaded down by now, and tired, so we headed back to the room. We decided to eat in the area - I checked out google maps and checked some nearby restaurant menus online but stuff was so expensive and we already did our expensive meal - and just headed down the main road (King St) but nothing was catching our eye - we were both pretty beat and thought to find the Pizza Hut we'd eaten at the year before, but an Italian place caught our eye before we went too much further - Casa Mia. We got some spaghetti and chicken, then we were counting our GBP left over. We passed a bigger grocery store so went in and picked up some coffee for our Tassimo, some chocolate, hot chocolate mix, and other goodies to bring home.

Then we stumbled back to the room so I could sort out our purchases and get the bags mostly packed for our early morning departure!

Posted by u2traveller 05:38 Archived in United Kingdom

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