The sun came out today and the weather was a little bit warm, temps were in the mid-60s. With more rain in the forecast I figured I needed to make the most of this relatively nice weather. I started out by making my way to the Wallace Collection near Baker St. The Wallace Collection is a permanent display of 16-19th century paintings, objects, armor, and weapons. For a limited time, there is an additional display scattered throughout the rooms of Manolo Blahnik (famous shoe designer) shoes, hand picked by Señior Blahnik, himself. He has often found inspiration in the Wallace Collection and chose shoes to compliment the displays. I went for the shoes, as did many other women, ignoring the paintings and making a B-line for the shoes. I’ve included some of my favorite designs in the photos. The Wallace Collection also has a significant section of armor and weapons. I found the detailed inlay work on the 16th century guns especially interesting. My favorite is the happy looking lion. Little does he know he is about to be shot.
After the Wallace Collection, I had some time to kill before meeting Cathy so I wandered down Oxford St for a bit, then headed over to Bank station to grab a quick bite of lunch from Pret a Manger.
Cathy and I met up just after lunch to view the Sky Garden at the top of the affectingly named “walkie-talkie” building. The Sky Garden is on the 35th floor with viewing platforms overlooking The City of London and beyond. We spent about an hour up there admiring the views. We thought there would be more of a garden feel to it than there was. Yes, there were tropical trees and landscaped areas around the perimeter, but the middle was overtaken by a 3 story restaurant and there was so many walkways and sitting areas with cafe tables that it didn’t really feel like a garden. But, let’s be honest, no one comes up here for the garden, they come for the views, which were spectacular.
After the garden, we wandered down to the Thames. It was low tide so we walked down onto the rocky area only exposed at low tide and looked around for interesting things. We didn’t find any ancient pottery, but it was neat to be by the river, anyway. Cathy had to leave for a lesson, so I started looking for a cafe where I could sit for a bit and use the WiFi. I walked for a while, heading east out of the City. By the time I started to come across cafes that weren’t very full (thus I wouldn’t feel like I needed to leave right away to give someone else my seat) I was nearly back to my flat. So, change of plans, I just went back to the flat for free tea and WiFi.
After Cathy’s lesson, we met up in Greenwich at the Cutty Sark pub, one of my favorites in London. It’s a cozy place with a couple of floors, laid out sort of wonky like it had been expanded over the years. There are low ceilings and little nooks scattered around for an intimate chat with friends. It sits right on the edge of the river with great views of passing boats and the Millennium Dome. As we arrived, the weather was getting windy and our views across the River Thames were of darkening skies. Sure enough, about halfway through our meal rain started pelting the windows of the pub. We had a cold, windy walk back to the Tube station to get home.