London

Not normally thought of as a weekend getaway, London is really not that far away. And Ellen loves Chihuly, who has an exhibit at Kew Gardens. And with life events that made a trip good for mental health, we made last-minute plans.

We flew Virgin Atlantic to Heathrow, arriving Saturday morning. With weekend track work on the underground, we took the Heathrow Express into town, a very easy 15 minute trip. We stayed at the Cavendish London, a boutique hotel in Mayfair, a quite posh neighborhood.

We dumped our backpacks (no checked luggage!) and started our 48 hour stay. We walked to the London Eye. The view from the top was impressive, of Big Ben, which is in scaffolding now, and the rest of the city.

After the ride, we visited Winchester Cathedral. The history of England is inside.

My one request for his trip was a chance to get fish & chips. After touring the church, we found the Laughing Halibut, a perfect spot to satisfy my craving.

We had Rick Steves walking tour between the cathedral and Trafalgar Square on our phones, which included 10 Downing Street, where we hear there is a vacancy.

The National Museum is at the top of Trafalgar Square. When Ellen saw there was a DaVinci there, we had to go inside.

Since we were in Europe, Ellen had to visit her good friend Thomas Sabo.

Finally, after a short stop at the hotel, it was dinner time. Ellen picked a seafood restaurant that allowed us to walk through the theatre district. I had pollock crumble at Parsons.

Sunday, we had only one agenda item–Kew Gardens. Ellen loves Chihuly, and we have seen his installations in many places.

We started the day though with a fancy breakfast at the place to see and be seen, the Wolseley. Great service and food.

We took the Underground out to Kew Gardens. There were 12 Chihuly installations on the map, and we set off. Some we had seen before, and some were created for this display.

When we got to the big glass Temperate House, we were expecting one Chihuly. But in addition to the huge piece hanging from the ceiling, the room was full of Chihulys.

My favorite was near the Japanese Landscape.

The biggest surprise was when we got to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery. Inside, there was a display of so many pieces, it rivaled our visit to the Chihuly gallery in Seattle.

Here’s the last piece we saw. Seeing this exhibit was no doubt worth the short trip.

On our way back, we decided to do some more typically London things. We went to Harrods, and I bought some tea. We went to Buckingham Palace to visit the queen.

Our second (and final) diner was at Hide Ground in our neighborhood. It was a fantastic meal with great service. I had lamb that was outstanding, and a dessert that was strawberry with grain, served frozen on a stick.

And on the morning of our departure, took this picture of the view from our hotel room.IMG_9104

We certainly did not have time to do all the things we would have liked to, but that could take a lifetime in a London. For 48 hours, we did quite a lot.

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