Living in the moment when thinking of the future is unavoidable…Photos from walks in South Kensington…

We walked past Christie’s location, the world-famous auction house, that occupies almost the entire block.

Living in the moment is a vital aspect of the depth of our appreciation in traveling the world. Anticipating the future with diligent planning leaves our minds free to revel in the moment.

One can’t live in a perpetual state of anticipation with an occasional thought of the time and place of the moment. We’ve found that the opposite is true. Live in the moment with an occasional thought and warm fuzzy about the future.

Once in the heart of the area, the streets were jammed with cars and people.

At the moment, as much as we’re finding London to be enriching and interesting we must admit, we’re anticipating our upcoming two cruises, one on August 31st and the second on September 23rd with a flutter of excitement. 

An old church stands out among the crisp white buildings.

We haven’t been on a cruise ship since we toured the Mediterranean Sea cruise, ending in Venice, Italy on June 16, 2013. It seems so long ago. Now, as we mentally make every effort to free ourselves from those thoughts in order to embrace London while we’re here, it’s still hard to believe we’ll be on a cruise ship in 12 days.

There are several routes we’ve taken when walking the area, some less busy than others.

With only four months until we see our family in Hawaii, it’s tough not to let our minds wander to the joy of seeing all of them once again.

Look at this gorgeous display in this bakery. Yes, my food voyeur tendencies are in the full-on mode, in London. Tom scoffs at these yummy looking desserts, preferring a boring plain cake donut or a Bismarck topped with chocolate frosting with custard inside. Dull! (Not the guy. Just his taste buds).
We got a kick out of the name of this store, Odd Bins.

Yesterday, we took off on foot toward the three museums in the area, able to enter only one of three with the lines of thousands of waiting visitors. We’ll share our museum experience in tomorrow’s post which we’ll upload early in the morning.

The walkways and roads are beautifully maintained, making walking especially enjoyable.

Tomorrow, we have a 10-hour tour of Downton Abbey and Oxford University, leaving at 7:45 am from the hotel across the street. We’ll upload the post before we leave so we won’t miss a beat in our absence ad be back on Thursday with photos of the all-day tour.

There was an auto showroom along the busy street, open by appointment only, displaying this yellow Lamborghini.

As avid fans of the entertaining British TV show since its onset, it will be fascinating to see the grounds and the castle that has become firmly entrenched in our minds after never missing an episode over several seasons

There was one bakery after another in the busy area.

Today, as yesterday, we’ll walk around the beautiful South Kensington area trying another route. We couldn’t be more thrilled that we ended up in this superb location in this 4-star hotel, The Regency Hotel Queen’s Gate.

The entrance to Piccadilly line South Kensington was located in a small indoor mall.

We’ve worked out the kinks we encountered upon checking in including our blown plugins left us no alternative but to borrow the singular device they had available, suitable for US plugs which will only charge one computer at a time. 

A pub we entered to read the menu had meat for sale and also to serve to dining patrons. 

As for charging our phones and cameras, we have no option but to charge them via USB into the computer, one at a time, when one of our computers is plugged in. Timing this is cumbersome.

The historic building stands out in a lovely area.

As a result, we spend time in the morning in the lobby running off batteries, writing rather than sitting on the bed in the room. Once we’ve uploaded the daily post, we head back to the room and charge one computer while we go out and about. 

Another church steeple in South Kensington.

Later, when we return to shower and dress for dinner we’ll leave the other computer charging while away.  We repeat this process over and over. It’s annoying, to say the least. Also, paying US $13.31, 8 pounds per day for Wifi is ridiculous when there have been no such charges at any other hotels in which we’ve stayed. This wasn’t clear when we booked online months ago.

Architecturally interesting white buildings line many of the streets in South Kensington.

Otherwise, this hotel is lovely with excellent service, reasonable amenities, gorgeous décor, and a perfect location. Tonight, in an effort for an early evening, we’ll dine in the hotel’s beautiful restaurant. The inviting ambiance and comparable pricing to other dining establishments in the area make it a logical choice when we have an early start tomorrow morning.

We often take photos of nearby restaurants, later looking up reviews on TripAdvisor, such as in this case it rates #1572 of 17,134, making it in the top 9%, perhaps worthy of a visit. To see the review click here.

As indicated above, we’ll be posting tomorrow morning with photos of our visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum and then Thursday with the results of our 10-hour day tour on a bus with a bunch of “oldies” like us, all attempting to “live in the moment.”

                                              Photo from one year ago today, August 19, 2013:

While living in Boveglio, we order the upcoming year of prescriptions. When they arrived almost 60 days after ordering, we were worried when one box was missing. We had to reorder and have it sent to our mailing service who was sending us a package while we’d be living in Kenya. For details, please click here.

Engaging in traditions in a local pub…Memorable!…London?…We like it!…

When we arrived at Andover Arms, the second night in a row, this sign was placed on the same table where we’d sat the previous night. This was special to us, making us feel welcomed when we were warmly greeted at the door.

After exceeding our budget for sightseeing in Paris, we’ve decided to curtail the expenses in London if possible.  Within walking distance of several museums in our area of Kensington which surprisingly are free to enter, we can easily stay busy for days.

The Andover Arms is staffed by friendiest people on the planet both at the bar and when dining. We were welcomed as if we were old friends.
Tom tried a local beer at Andover Arms the first night.  We returned the second night for the popular “roast” dinner.

With the upcoming 10 hours Downton Abbey and Oxford tour this Wednesday, we’d allocated for one more pre-planned tour. After reviewing many options, we decided on a big bus tour which includes the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Later in the day, the tours will be concluding with a two-hour cruise on the Thames River. What a perfect day that will be on the 25th as well as this Wednesday.

Sightseeing is one thing. Interacting in a local establishment in an entirely different experience. These types of places are where memories are made for us, not in a museum or old building.

Hopefully, it won’t rain as much as it did yesterday when we didn’t go out until midday and we walked around the fabulous South Kensington area, a mere few blocks from the hotel.

Tom’s Guinness Pie on the first night, a delicious meat stew filled pastry, atop mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

With dozens of casual restaurants one after another, we read one outdoor menu after menu fascinated with the options available, most of which would work for both of us one way or another. Prices? High. 

My delicious roast chicken with avocados and veggies, on the first visit.

Most main courses are no less than US $30, 18 pounds, with many much higher. There are no American fast-food restaurants or chains other than one Starbucks. 

Tom hadn’t been drinking but, he looks as if he’d had a few.

We decided if we tried a new restaurant each of the next 13 nights, we’d never be concerned about repeats.  Since arriving in London two days ago, we’ve had dinner at the same restaurant twice, Andover Arms, rated #2 on TripAdvsor of 17,136 dining options. 

Last night, our waitress took this goofy shot of us. 

After a phenomenal dinner on Saturday night, we booked it again the next night before leaving when our new friends from Vancouver recommended we return for the amazing Sunday night “roast,” cooking various meats to juice dripping tenderness. I was served this huge leg of lamb as shown in the photo below. 

As we waited for our return taxi after dinner the first night, a patron offered to take our photo. Blurry.

For the first time in our travels, I couldn’t finish my plate of food last night when I’ve never felt full having the usual small portion of protein and veggies. Last night was the exception.

As much as we’d love to return to Andover Arms one more time, the taxi fare is outrageous at US $50, 30 pounds, round trip. With all the nearby options, we’ll have no trouble deciding where to dine.

Flowers at Andover Arms.

The first night at Andover Arms we were thrown for a loop when we saw a meal being served. They were so impressive, I asked a couple and their daughter at another table if I could take photos of their food. Little did I know that Tom had ordered the Guinness Pie (beef) and soon his would arrive. 

Andover Arms is a genuine English pub in a cozy neighborhood filled with tourists and locals engaged in loud cheerful chatter with the smells of fabulous home-cooked food wafting through the air.
Tom’s roast beef dinner last night. His meat portion was one quarter as much as my lamb. Otherwise, he loved it.

The family of three is from Vancouver where we’ll be arriving for a six days stay before we board the ship to Hawaii. We all hit it off so well, we may get together in Vancouver for dinner if all works out. 

This was my all day roasted leg of lamb, popular of Sunday night’s “roast.” I tried but I couldn’t eat the entire thing.
I never touched my included extra plate of veggies when the lamb was so filling and delicious.

Sitting at their table sharing travel stories couldn’t have been more enjoyable. It was thrilling to finally be chatting with English-speaking people after months in Morocco and Portugal and most recently Paris.

After dinner, we walked to South Kensington, walking along the interesting streets to this ice cream parlor where Tom bought a double scoop cone.

London is a friendly place. That fact alone is making our time here memorable. From the people at the desk in the hotel to the shop clerks where we purchased nuts, to the people walking in the streets, saying, “Excuse me,” when bumping on the sidewalk, it’s a whole new world that we appreciate more than we can say. 

Tom had a hard time deciding on his two flavors.  Would that I could have chosen, I’d have had no trouble.

How we so easily take pleasantries for granted when suddenly all that is taken away. In part, the friendliness adds to our wonderful memories of Marloth Park, South Africa.

For an additional cost, one could purchase one of these specialty cones to be filled with scoops of their choice.

With enough activities planned to keep us entertained providing enough fodder for our stories and photos of London, we feel relaxed as we sit in the lobby early this morning writing now. 

Tom, last night, with his two-scoop cone.

Oops, it’s my turn to run to the hotel bar to get another tiny tub of ice for our iced tea, hopefully enough to last as we finish today’s post and then take off on foot for a day in London.

We’ll be back!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 18, 2013:

Not only did we unload tons of clothes but also disposed of our remaining supply of vitamins other than B6 for preventing kidney stones for Tom, B complex for me, and probiotics for both of us. We had to lighten the load. A year later, we’re no worse for the wear without the others.  For details from that date when we made piles of clothing to donate, please click here.