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Day 4: From Notting Hill to Saigon

Ok, so for the 1st 3 days, I must say that we took it slow, and for the most part, focused on spending time with friends and family. If there was one thing I wanted to be different with this trip, compared to our Euro trip last Spring, I wanted to pace ourselves, and spend at least 4 days in each of the locations we plan on visiting. For London alone, we are here for about 5 days, and on our 6th day, we fly to another country. Now that we’ve reached our halfway point in London, it’s time to get cracking and see more places.

Caffe Concerto
We must be doing better with time since Nancy and I got up this morning after 8am local time (which is 12am Calif time – ouch). We got ready for the day, and waited for Sheena to arrive. We finally left the hotel around 9:30am. We passed by a couple of local restaurants and decided to check out Caffe Concerto. One of the plans today was to eat something “English,” something more with a London-flair. So hey, they had something on the menu called Full English, why not? Maybe we were just hungry, but this breakfast was pretty darn good. The Full English looked like your typical American breakfast, but then they threw in baked beans – that was unique. I enjoyed my order, the Eggs Benedict. The eggs appeared poached, and the bacon was to die for. I’m glad that our day started on the right foot.

Fortnum and Mason
All Nancy could talk about was we have to get tea at Fortnum and Mason. I said, ok, but had no idea what I saying ok to. I thought we’d be going to a little tea house, and order tea. As we approached Fortnum and Mason, well it was not your grandma’s little tea shop. It looked like a See’s Candies met Harry and David and together they took steroids. It was a whole department store. On the street level, was all about tea, chocolates, pastries, desserts….it was a mecca for entertaining with desserts. There were truffles, and fudge, and this, and that…there were cupcakes, and chocolate bars….you name it. We must’ve spent a good hour sampling things and we ended up purchasing macarons and Jasmine tea.

Notting Hill 

I remember watching this movie with Nancy back in 1999,
we were either dating or were engaged at the time. There was this quaint little book shop owned by Hugh Grant, and this was where he met Julia Roberts (who played a movie star in the film). In fact, if I remember correctly, 1 or 2 of the songs from this movie ended up making it in our video montage for our wedding. So of course, we had to go to Notting Hill. It was in a quaint little road, Portobello Road, filled with shops and restaurants. The former bookstore had closed, and it has since become a gift shop. The blue paint is still on the outside which made for a very good opportunity to take pictures.

Borough Market
After we left Notting Hill, we took the train towards the London Bridge station. We built up an appetite and decided to give Fish and Chips a try. Instead of settling at a pub, we found Borough Market, an outdoor market filled with stalls and stands – food and what not. Right out side was Fish!Kitchen. Yep that’s the name of the restaurant. They specialized in Fish and Chips and I ordered Fillet of Hake and Chips. Sheena and Nancy went to try other goodies and ordered Pad Thai and Coconut Pancakes. I’m glad we ordered different things. I wasn’t expecting much from the Fish and Chips. I have access to it back home, I didn’t find anything special with Fish!Kitchen. Maybe I’ll go to a local pub and find me something good to order. The Pad Thai and Coconut Pancakes though…..homerun!!!

The Shard
We went towards London Bridge to hit many birds with one stone. On the day that we arrived, the very 1st thing Sheena told us was she made reservations at The Shard, at the time, I had no idea what it was. Once we got there, it all made sense. The Shard, located near London’s Tower Bridge, is Europe’s Tallest building, a 95-story skyscraper. The reservations that Sheena made for us was to go to the observation deck and sky view (69th floor and 72nd floor). We chose to go later in the afternoon when it was still somewhat bright, and waited until the sun came down. This allowed us the opportunity to see a 360 degree view of the city. We saw the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge. You can also see how the railroad breaks out in to different forks. It was quite amazing to be standing at this level, it gave me an appreciation of London. Thank you, Sheena!

Leicester Square
We headed to Leicester Square directly after leaving The Shard. We were here the other night, a popular hang out for those venturing out to the theatre, or Chinatown. We had a quick dinner at Hung’s Chinese and ordered Roast Duck & Crispy Pork Belly, King Prawn Dumplings with Egg Noodles Soup, and Sweet & Sour Pork. That was quite filling and tasty! That dumpling tho!!!!

The Heat is On
When we made plans to go to London, there was no question that we had to see the new revival of Miss Saigon. We’ve seen the show quite a few times when it was on Broadway, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The show closed on Broadway over 10 years ago, and was revived in 2014. I purchased 3 tickets back in September. I knew that the theatre was enormous, so I made sure to get very good seats – 4th row orchestra – center. So after dinner, we walked past the Queens Theatre where Les Miserables is currently playing.

We made a quick right on Old Compton Street and from afar, we could already see the red, yellow, and black colors – Miss Saigon marquee. We took a few pictures outside. I made my way to the Box Office to pick up our tickets. We made our way to our seats, and I couldn’t complain.

Most of our friends have seen the old show, and all I can say is that this revival is everything that’s MORE – raunchy, dirty, gritty, nasty, and risky. It was in-your-face. It’s like the show took a vacation (which it did), went back to school, did more research, and executed all those changes. Some parts were hard to watch because I was used to the old version, but then again, the fact that it was tough to watch was not a bad thing, the creative team accomplished what they set out to do, to bring forth the reality, or the sign of the times. The revival is making its Broadway come back in 2017 so brace yourself.

That’s it, that’s our Day 4…..lots of walking, eating, and sightseeing. This is all for now…..good night!!!

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