Our uneventful flight got us to London around 6:45am this morning. There were precisely zero covid-related checks at the airport – just a matter of passing through the automated passport gate. A few trains later and we made our way to our hotel, the CitizenM Bankside. I’m going to do a separate post about how much I love CitizenM. The important thing to note here is that they let us get our room around 8am, instead of 3 pm which was fantastic. Our concierge worked at the Citizen M in Taipei and we were able to sweet talk him in to an early check in. We slept for most of the morning, and woke up ready to carpe the diem.
Goal one was food, so we walked over to the Borough Market. It’s like a trendy modern food hall, except it dates to the 12th century. Because London. I’d like to modify my statement from yesterday, calling into question British cuisine. Of course, modern British cuisine is world class (more on that later). But I also neglected to mention colonialism and military adventurism, which have left the British with a pretty solid food scene, along with a lot of unresolved guilt. We picked up some nasi lemak and kaya toast from a Singaporean stall.
Our other primary goal for the day was to visit the British Museum. This museum does not mess around. It reminded me of an exchange from an episode of the Rick Steves radio show – Rick was asking a British guide about all of the stolen items and the push to repatriate things. The very British guide said (tongue in cheek) “now of course, we don’t say the artifacts were stolen. We say we were keeping them safe. From the French.”
We actually followed Rick’s audio guide as a way to see some of the high points of the museum. You could lose yourself for days and not scratch the surface, so the cliffs notes version was helpful. We followed the tour through the Egyptians and Assyrians, unfortunately all of the Greek sections are closed. After our abbreviated audio tour, we did a rapid stroll through some other galleries of the museum, but still missed plenty. Kat had to be dragged out of the Mesopotamian and Iranian archaeology halls before she absconded with some cuneiform tablets.
We made a quick trip back to the hotel to change, and then it was off to dinner at Nopi. We’re huge Ottolenghi fans, and so having the chance to eat at one of his restaurants was definitely a high point. We had a fantastic meal, and it was fun to make connections back to some of our favorite recipes from his cookbooks.
Tomorrow is a mostly unscheduled day, aside from getting another round of COVID tests. Anyone got London tips?