Ryan had to go to England so we squeezed in a trip to London for our anniversary. We hadn’t planned anything other than seeing a show. We had wanted to see Jersey Boys since our engagement weekend in NYC a few years ago. Even though nothing was planned, the weekend turned out to be reminiscent of that beautiful weekend in New York in 2009.
The day we arrived in London, England was playing Germany in the World Cup so we hurried to a pub to catch the game. Being the only people in the pub cheering for Germany was probably not wise considering the “passionate” English fans but it was awesome to sit in a pub with real football (soccer) fans and drink a few beers and Irish cider (because it’s gluten-free) for the World Cup. The pub was packed and everywhere, all anyone was talking about in the cabs, on the street, in the hotel… the World Cup. The score, the players, the standing, the game times and what-ifs. The city was electric with football chatter and the excitement of the game.
The next day was our first full day in London and we decided to wake up a bit early and go to Westminster Abbey before the crowds. It was here, walking through the cloister area of the Abbey that Ryan reminded me that he proposed in a cloister (the Cloister Museum in New York). We walked through hand in hand enjoying the feeling of just being there, standing among the columns, bathed in the light shining through the stained glass.
Later that night we dressed up and headed out to see Jersey Boys. We both loved it even more than we expected, which was exactly how we felt about Wicked. Jersey Boys is a musical based on the story of the rough beginning of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the group that sings our song, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. We didn’t know it before but the performance of that particular song is by far the most spectacular of the entire show. We didn’t know the history of the band, the song or how integral “our song” was to their success. That made it even more special!
Following the show and after checking with lost and found about our lost camera (number 4 lost/damaged camera for anyone counting), we set out in Soho to find a restaurant for dinner. Ryan found a great looking place on his Lonely Planet London App so, we headed that way in the drizzling rain. We arrived in front of a townhouse with a lovely black door, it was a restaurant but the name was different. It was raining harder now so we rang the door bell and gave it a shot. We had no idea what to expect when the door opened. The new restaurant was called Gauthier. We didn’t have reservations and it was a little late for dinner. The hostess was very nice but said we could have a table but only three courses. Fine with us! Who needs more than three?
We had no idea what an amazing find this was until we explained that I was allergic to gluten and waiter walked through the menu with me and brought me a special gluten free bread, which was made in house, not frozen! We selected our three courses but the waiters were not in a hurry at all it seemed. They were patient and attentive and not at all pushing us out even though it was a bit late. The risotto with black truffle oil and Parmigiano Reggiano may be one of the most amazing things I’ve eaten. We had a romantic, candle-lit table by the window. The setting and the amazing food and service at Gauthier was another reminder of New York where we dined at One If By Land, Two If By Sea, where we had the most romantic dinner after Ryan proposed. A less exciting reminder, searching for a cab in Soho after theater-goers are leaving the bars and restaurants. Have you ever had to find a taxi in New York on the Fourth of July?
We spent much of the next day just wandering around the city, walking through the park and a popping into a cafe now and then. It was a beautiful weekend with amazing weather.
While the London Underground is noticeably cleaner than the New York Subway, it was another reminder…
For lunch, I found one of the only restaurants in London serving gluten free fish and chips. I still prefer my own version of gluten free fish (made with crush salt and vinegar potato chips) and chips (sweet potato fries) but the mashed peas were yummy though and definitely not reminiscent of anything in NYC.
We spent the rest of the day, taking the long walk along the promenade of the River Thames on the “Queen’s Walk.” This walk ended up taking far longer than expected but it was well worth spending the day. We started at the Tower Bridge.
We walked through an International festival with music, crafts and food from around the world. We sat in a pub for lunch over-looking the river and writing postcards, which I of course lost and therefore never mailed (sorry, family. I promise they were cute cards). We walked by the London Eye but since we had both done it before, didn’t see the need to stand in line for an hour.
We ended up back at Parliament.
And back to Buckingham Palace, which was near our hotel. Had to snap a few pics of the guards, of course.
We had a fantastic weekend in London for our Five year dating anniversary! I had forgotten how much I loved this City and it was a pleasant surprise how much this trip reminded us of the weekend Ryan proposed in New York. The next morning it was time for me to head home but I can’t wait to go back. There is just something about London.