Thursday, 5 December 2019
Today I want to buy tickets for a show in one of the West End theaters. West End is London's equivalent of Broadway, but the tickets are more affordable. Like Broadway, West End has a TKTS booth that sells same day show tickets at discounted prices, so that is our destination...the TKTS booth. Conveniently, Rick Steves has a walking tour in the guidebook that begins at Leicester Square, exactly where the TKTS booth is, so we took the Underground and popped up right in Leicester Square. It wasn't Broadway, but there was a Broadway-esque sign:
The signs and lights might not be better than Broadway, but there is a nice pedestrian area which NYC doesn't provide.
Aha...we found the TKTS booth. I managed to get tickets to see the musical "The Man in the White Suit" for $33 each...great price. The show starts at 7:30 PM, so we have the next 9 hours to sight-see. Cool! Our walking tour took us right past our theater for tonight. We will return soon.
We continued walking at arrived at Covent Garden. A market has been here since the medieval times.
Tiffany & Company set up a winter wonderland outside the covered marketplace that even had a small skating rink.
This intersection is called "Seven Dials"...notice the 7 sundials at the top of the structure. Seven small streets intersect here.
This is Cambridge Circus. Check out the really nice red-brick Victorian architecture, one of which is home to the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child". We are not fans of Harry Potter, but I'm sure this is a stop for many American families visiting London.
Welcome to Denmark Street known for its association with the UK's music industry. This used to be the home to recording studios where the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, the Beatles, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath have recorded some of their biggest records. Also on this street, Reginald Dwight AKA Elton John worked as a office boy.
This square is called Soho Square, London's Greenwich Village. This is a gardener's hut in Soho Square Gardens.
As we walked through Soho, we noticed a blue plaque on a building that says "In a house on this site in 1764-5 WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART 1756-1791 lived, played and composed"....Cool!
Further down the street was Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, the the last place that Jimi Hendrix jammed just days before his death.
The end of the street is a small Chinatown (notice the Chinese lanterns), where we plan to eat tonight before the show.
It was now almost 2 PM, so we headed to the National Gallery, home of Britian's greatest collection of paintings, and only a 5 minute walk from here. Places like this can be intimidating because you don't know where to start. Luckily Rick Steves has a tour laid out in the London guidebook. Because many of the artworks move around, it is like a scavenger hunt looking for the pieces he suggests and describes. Here are some of the more popular works of art that Rick Steves pointed out:
Here is another one that Rick Steves points out. He says that you may not be familiar with this art, but fans of Monty Python's Flying Circus may recognize the right foot of Cupid (bottom left corner).
Rick Steves is correct...it is the foot!
Most of the museum wasn't too crowded, but when you enter the Impressionism room, there was a crowd. People love Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, and Van Gogh.
Enough paintings...time to find Chinese food. After a search on the phone, we wondered into Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar, a small eatery with only 3 tables in the back. We sat at a table with 3 others already eating. I can tell this place will be good. I ordered a big bowl of noodle and Tim ordered green pepper in black bean sauce. we also shared a couple of starters. SO GOOD! I want some more now.
We actually had to eat pretty quickly and then walked to Wyndham's Theater, 220 feet away. Tonight we are seeing "The Man in the White Suit," a musical based on the 1951 British satirical science fiction comedy film.
The show was pretty good and enjoyable. I think even Tim liked it. After the show we headed to the Underground and back to the apartment. What a great day. Tomorrow we visit the British Library and British Museum. Until then...