Natalia and I arrived in London last night. By the time we got to the hostel, everything in the neighborhood was closed, despite the fact that it's in Central London. Welcome to the UK! I'd heard that everything closes very early, but I didn't realize just how all-encompassing "everything" was in those mentions. I must be too used to "the city that never sleeps." It was OK, though. We got to walk around in the quiet for once. :)
Today, we walked around town a bit more (and noted, once again, how much quieter it is than in NYC), and then we went to the New Tate. The New Tate had a fascinating exhibit called "Global Cities," all about the development and growth of some of the major cities around the globe. The coolest part: a 3-D model of population densities in four major cities, by location. In other words, it was an overhead view of the city, with varying model heights as population density rose or fell by neighborhood. Outside of that exhibit, I really enjoyed the Surrealist area of the museum: Dreams and Poetry.
After the New Tate, we walked over to the Bramah Museum of Coffee and Tea for some Rose Congou and tea education. They were not exactly fastidious about things like spelling, but they had a wealth of information on coffee and tea, and it was very entertaining and educational. Also, learning some of the British terms for things was fun. (Example: "Cookie jars" are called "biscuit barrels.")
Next, we were off the Picadilly Circus to fight the crowd to get to the Royal Academy of Art and Fortnum & Mason. On the way, we stopped off at Minamoto Kitchoan for some Japanese wagashi (sweets, which we have yet to eat) and Maison du Chocolat for some incredible dark chocolate truffles. Yum! At Fortnum & Mason, we spent some time checking out their wide tea selection, biscuits, and teaware. (More on that later!) To end the day, we had some fish and chips at a pub. (I know, I know. But it's required, really.)
Now we're off to plan for tomorrow. Later!