Hampstead Heath and flat beer

London Travel Blog

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Trafalgar Square

People who made my travels more enjoyable: Rita (USA), Richard (England), Jenni (England) and the family (England)

After waking up quite early, Rita and I decided to eat a quick breakfast near Trafalgar square. I was so impressed by all of the history and culture this area had to offer. Sadly, I didn't have a lot of time to spend walking around. I took a quick look toward Buckingham Palace followed by the National Gallery, and then I was off. Rita took me to one of her favorite spots, a cute outdoor diner that offered pastries and eggs. We enjoyed our meal, and I noticed that it was warmer outside than it had been my whole trip. That's not saying a lot considering it was probably 65 degrees.

London Underground (Photo by Ian Dunster)
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After breakfast, I collected my belongings and went to Charing Cross station. My destination was Muswell Hill, the home of Richard and Jennie. I got my Oyester Card, added money for the fare and proceeded inside. The "Tube", as it's called, felt very different from other subways I had used. First, it's been built very deep underground. This caused less disruption to power, gas and sewer lines allowing builders to keep costs down. Second, it literally looks like a tube (hence the name I guess). Rather than high ceilings and large platforms, its cylindrical shape actually feels a bit claustrophobic. To enhance the effect, the subway cars are also shaped like cylinders. This gives them a much smaller more "intimate" feel.

Muswell Hill (Photo by Salimfadhley)
A far cry from San Francisco's BART...

After about 20 minutes I arrived at my stop. I lugged my bags outside the station and began walking toward Richard and Jennie's home. I was surprised when after about 10 minutes I started sweating. The weather in Ireland had been absolutely freezing and I was shocked by the change in climate. 

Their home was located near the heart of Muswell Hill, and upon knocking on the door, I was greeted by two very friendly dogs. I'm a bit of a dog lover (man's best friend indeed), so I'm always pleased to meet new dogs. Richard and Jennie's son was also home, and he quickly introduced me to their pet rabbit. I was starting to feel a bit like Dr. Doolittle with all the animals running about. 

After a few minutes, I put my belongings in the guest bedroom and was given a tour of the house.

Kenwood House at Hampstead Heath (Photo by Mikegr)
Shortly thereafter we took a short trip to Hampstead Heath. We at lunch (I can't remember the name of the place now) and I ate sausage and potatoes. How British of me! Afterward, we walked the and admired the brilliant views. We were even able to see a bit of downtown London. By this time the weather was at least 75 degrees and the sun was shining. So much for English weather! Before we left Richard took me to the Kenwood house. Admission was free and they had some spectacular paintings on display (including a Rembrandt). Afterward, we got ahold of the dogs and drove back to Richard and Jennie's house. 

I spent the afternoon kicking the football around with Richard's son and watching the FA cup final. Portsmouth had somehow made the final, and even more shocking was they were tied with Chelsea at the half.

Abbot Ale and Tap (Photo by Belmont Station)
Kevin Prince Boateng had a chance to take the lead in the second half with a penalty. He took one of the worst penalties I have ever seen and failed to score. A few minutes later Drogba scored on a driven free kick and Chelsea never looked back. They went on to win easily. One interesting caveat: I consider myself to be knowledgable when it comes to sports, but Jennie put me to shame. In America women don't often follow sports, but she knew more about sports than almost anyone I had ever spoken with. I was so impressed!

Later in the afternoon Richard and I toured Muswell Hill. Afterward we stopped at the local pub to have a pint. This was my first experience with Real English Ale. It was far more delicious than I anticipated. English Ale is prepared in a much different way than American lager. The most noticeable differences are its served at a warmer temperature and it doesn't have added carbonation. For a more in-depth explanation read this article (http://www.epinions.com/content_2780471428). After I finished my pint we returned home for dinner. 

Our evening was spent enjoying English food and watching some hilarious clips of Smithy with the English national team. I went to bed around 11pm to make sure that I would have a full night sleep. The next day I was scheduled to return to America!

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Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
London Underground (Photo by Ian D…
London Underground (Photo by Ian …
Muswell Hill (Photo by Salimfadhle…
Muswell Hill (Photo by Salimfadhl…
Kenwood House at Hampstead Heath (…
Kenwood House at Hampstead Heath …
Abbot Ale and Tap (Photo by Belmon…
Abbot Ale and Tap (Photo by Belmo…
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