Monday is antique day at Covent Garden. We got up early and bundled up, and went to see the wares. I bought two pashminas for 5 pounds. We went to the Whittard's store again, but since it's before Xmas, the stuff that was all on sale last time was not quite so cheap. I bought some "hangover cure" tea and coffee... not sure when I'll need it, or who'll get it as a gift, but it seemed like it might be useful. :)
I had wanted to go to the London Transport Museum to see the poster exhibit, but the museum entry wasn't cheap -- 10 pounds -- and it turned out that my friend Ben was on his way into London earlier in the day than I had expected. So we went to the shop and the cafe at the Transport Museum, and waited. I don't think I've seen Ben since the last Council HPC-AC meeting that I did, in April of '06. We had such a blast! He doesn't much like the tube, so we walked... and walked... and walked.
First, we headed for the Ye Olde Watling pub, over by St. Paul's Cathedral. (My picture wasn't quite as good.) We had pints and lunch, and chatted and watched the people go by. Then we ventured out into the cold again, and walked across Millennium bridge towards the Tate Modern. I got great pics of St. Paul's from many angles. Then we walked back across the Blackfriars bridge, and along the river towards Westminster. We walked along the Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace, and across the park to The Ritz. Unfortunately, we were underdressed and sans reservation, so they gave us the boot! We walked over to the Fountain restaurant at Fortnum & Mason, and had tea and scones there instead. (It turns out my parents had been at Fountain about an hour earlier!)
After our lovely tea service (I still don't get the appeal of clotted cream), we walked up to Old Bond street and looked at the shops (oooh, sparkly pretty things!), and went over to one of Ben's favorite tapas restaurants, El Pirata in Mayfair. I had taken him to Jaleo in DC a few years ago, so he thought he'd return the favor. I was stuffed from all the other food we had, but I tried their garlic aioli (YUM) on potatoes, tortilla, and mushrooms. And a glass of white Rioja. I couldn't eat anything else after that.
Ben walked me to the tube station at Green Park, and he was off back to Paddington to go home. All in all, we walked 6.27 miles today! No wonder I'm so tired! Here's the map of where we walked: