London: England Through the Eyes of a Frenchman – Part 5

After spending a long weekend in London with Monsieur X, I really miss…the hotel breakfast buffet so much.  It’s been over two years since I’ve seen him (video calls don’t count) and truly didn’t think I would see him again.  I hope we will meet up again before the end of 2020.

Last time we ran around central London’s popular sites in 24 hours seeing Tower Bridge, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden.  This time we both wanted to take it easy, I wanted to visit parts of the capital on my bucket list, no point in trying to impress him as it never worked before and the only place he wanted to visit was Camden Town again.

Staying at the Travelodge Stratford near the Olympic Park and Westfield Shopping Centre. It was close enough for transport links and restaurants but not too busy or noisy.  We paid a reasonable flexi rate with breakfast and Wi-Fi for a London hotel (£270 for three nights), it would have been £100 cheaper if I had booked non-refundable but has he flew with Ryanair I couldn’t take the chance.

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We started our weekend at Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse at the Westfield. A fish platter for two, a side order of rice and two beers came to around £40. A good portion for two people, not to spicy but left a tangy hot taste at the back of my mouth.

Next day we went to Camden Town I hated it last time we visited, too many people and too many tacky tourist shops. I found out it better to visit in the week, in this case a Friday, still busy but not so crowded. We were drawn towards a bar in the market for an overpriced beer (the musician was playing Maroon 5’s This Love – our song) then on to a pub on the Camden High Street, the Bucks Head. Sitting outside people watching and feeling like I was in an episode of TOWIE sitting next to three loud cockney drunks.  To Monsieur X he loved it, his options: ‘It’s my place’

After too much daytime drinking I felt we needed to walk it off and instead of heading to the nearest tube station we headed to the nearest park, Regent’s Park, and hoped there was a tube station close at the other end of it.  Friday evening’s activity was the cinema to see Johnny English, as I know the French love Rowan Atkinson. We went to the Picture House in Stratford ½ price tickets compared to the big multi-plex’s, only £7.50 and the seating was just as comfortable as any modern multi-plex.

Saturday, he sampled the real England, heavy rain on a weekend, it chucked it down! I had a few ‘inside’ options. I don’t do museums but I prefer them to art galleries and the choice I never gave him was Tate Gallery or the Natural History Museum.  A history lesson about animals and the planet was far more interesting to me than modern art. Free entry, a weekend and rain meant the place was rammed with people trying to dry off while looking at rooms full of rocks or taxidermy.

 

After two hours inside (and there was so much more to see), it was still raining and after walking around trying to find a spot in any busy bar or restaurant, I gave up and we stopped off at Canary Wharf (still raining) on the way home for dinner at the Slug and Lettuce. The food was typical ‘pub grub’, good and cheap and Monsieur X felt at home as the waitresses were French, they gave him a break from speaking English.

The Sun came out for our last day, breakfast and checked out before another Londres adventure. A Sunday morning stroll around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park then headed to Greenwich with an unplanned stop at Canary Wharf again.  I didn’t think a man who lives in the Provence countryside and works in five-star ski resort or near St Tropez in the summer would be impressed with a bunch of office blocks but he was.

We finally made it to Greenwich and was delayed by an overpriced food festival and an out of tune band next to Cutty Sank, but he loved it. My favourite part of this week, apart from the company was Greenwich Park and its view.

 

I don’t know if we will see each other again but I really hope we do.

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*Photos are the only ones I have with out Monsieur X posing.

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