Monday, April 29, 2013

Thames Path and Sunday Roast

A short walk from the Hammersmith Station, a world away from noisy buses, round-abouts and crowded Tubes is the Thames River Path, anchored by the stately green Hammersmith Bridge. In anticipation of 'sunny' Spring days we have spent the last few Sundays exploring different pubs along the river. On nicer days the wide river path fills with families, runners, and bike riders but yesterday it was quiet ... even the longboats moored along the banks were buttoned-up.

This Sunday we shared 'Roast' at the Old Ship with Ray, Maria, Ken, and Kelly ... all part of our EY family in London! 

It was a windy day but perfect for the sailors making manoeuvres in preparation for the race to begin.

We saw quite a few boats tip over but the sailors were experienced and knew how to recover quickly.

Still on our list of Pubs to try are the Blue Anchor and The Dove, where it's claimed that "Rule Britannia" was penned in an upstairs room. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Afternoon Tea Parties

I have recently been to some scrumptious Tea Parties in London.

 At the Milestone, a 5-star boutique hotel  overlooking Kensington Palace and Gardens, we said farewell to Lynne in style with champagne and tea in this lovely black and white observatory.  This was my own tower of gluten free goodies!

We will miss Lynne and her "British Historical Fiction Book Club" meetings whenever she was in town. The discussion was always lively, but not necessarily historical!

The annual AWC Founder's Day event this year was a Mad Hatter Tea Party at Dartmouth House on Charles Street near Green Park.

The bidding for auction items was competitive and everyone looked lovely in afternoon dress and hats!  My favorite was this Boston cap to honor those who were at the Boston Marathon just days before. 

And yesterday, we said farewell to Lynda London with an Afternoon Tea at the Pelham Hotel in South Kensington.  She is one of those ladies who has only been here for a few years but you feel as though you have known her your whole life.  Her smile always lights up a room!

As I look back through these photos, I notice that there is not much "Tea" drinking going on.  No wonder we enjoy our Afternoon Tea Parties so much!  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Welcoming Place

Finally, Spring!
*Note to self - "April is not spring, April is not Spring!"  
With the month of May around the corner we discovered this simple quiet oasis just 2 blocks from our flat.......
Ebury Square Gardens 

Ahhhh...soaking up a little Saturday sunshine!  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An evening of Flamenco

After an afternoon of shopping for traditional costumes for Christy and Haley...just kidding!.....
we found a quiet restaurant willing to serve us an early meal before our evening of exciting Flamenco dance, song and guitar.

For dinner?  A huge pan of Paella and the best pitcher of Sangria to quench our thirst!

I can not claim these fantastic action shots of our entertainment. The lights were low and we were not allowed to use a flash but one of our travel buddies shared these with us.  Ole'!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sights of Seville

Seville in a day....we did our best!  We met our guide at the beautiful Spanish Royal Residence, Alcazar. It is a palace rich with moorish architecture and gardens with the amazing (and still memorable) scent of orange blossoms.

Our next stop with our guide was the Cathedral, layered on top of an existing 12th century Mosque, with the Minaret which once called Muslims to pray, now being used as a bell tower calling Christians to worship.  I think the layers of religions is one of the most interesting aspects of the places we visited on our trip through Andalusia .... curious findings like Muslim writings from the Koran inside a Catholic chapel or the Star of David carved into the pillars of an ancient Mosque.

....... And the tomb of Christopher Columbus, who we all know from 3rd grade history discovered America and apparently made the Queen of Spain very wealthy! 

But my favorite place was behind the walls of an ordinary brick building, the Plaza de Espana, actually constructed for the Latin American Expo in 1929.  

Even with a 10 minute rain shower the colorful tiles, ornate bridges, canal with row boats for hire, fountain, and horse and carriages made this location magnifico!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Treasures from Sicily.....

Was it down this street....
or was it down this street?

Tim and Sandra managed to find their way back to
Signor Fiore's art studio where they fell in love with this 8 foot painting.  The bold colors and the red roof tiled houses along the sea just reminded them of this pretty little town and they "had to have it"!  All 8 feet of it!
This is the artist, Fiore, posing with Sandra in his studio with a huge rifle on his arm .... (no idea why)... but he was very proud that day!

Over the next few days we scavenged through trash piles to find cardboard boxes and in her best Italian hand language, Sandra managed to find packing tape but "bubble wrap" was out of the question! The plan was to wrap it, hopefully fit it in the car, hopefully check it at the BA counter and hopefully carry it through the airport, on to the Gatwick Express, down Chester Row, and proudly display it in their London flat.
There was no back-up plan................It made it!  

My treasures came from the town of Caltogirone - famous for it's ceramics or "majolica".
The highlight in the center of town are the Scala di Santa Maria de Monte ~ a flight of 142 steps covered with enameled ceramic tiles.....
whew!  We made it!   Oh wait, another ceramic shop!  

How cute are these? They hang on the wall - hmmmm,
perfect for....... maybe a beach condo!  
And from every curve in the road...
Mt. Etna was watching over us!