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Your London

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Your London

Every Friday, you can get the ES magazine free when you buy London's Evening Standard newspaper. My favourite section in this magazine is called My London and they ask famous people the same questions each week.

So, I thought I would give you the opportunity to be a celeb for a few minutes and answer the questions (and I hope I'm not breaking any copyright). I'm only going to list the ones that are London or travel related. So, here goes:

1. What do you miss most when you're out of London?

2. What is your earliest London memory?

3. What advice would you give to a tourist?

4. What would you do if you were Mayor for a day?

5. What has been your most memorable London meals?

6. What was the last play you saw in London and did you enjoy it?

7. Where were the last 3 places you went on holiday?

8. Do you have a favourite pub?

NH
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1. Re: Your London

Hi Mick: I have to answer #5 about most memorable. I have quite a story. My Big Fat Expensive Greek Lunch!

When my friend and I went to London we each planned a couple of things that we absolutely had to do while we were there. My friend is married to a man of Greek heritage she has learned all about Greek culture and has been perfecting Greek cooking, so one of our definite plans was to visit St. Sofia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral which is in the Greek section of London and to find an authentic Greek restaurant for lunch.

Armed with our maps and info we started out on our day’s plans: take the tube to Harrod’s and visit the food halls, take the tube to Queensway and find the Cathedral, have lunch, take the Bayswater tube to Holborn and go to the British Museum, take the tube to Piccadilly and have dinner, visit the National Gallery (open til 9), and finally take the tube back to Baker Street and crash at the Sherlock Holmes! Yes, we were crazy, that’s a lot for one day, but we did it all.

It was a brisk sunny day and with the Harrod’s portion of our trip completed we headed to Queensway. We located St. Sofia’s on our map and after a short walk through picturesque streets arrived at the cathedral. It was lovely and there was a priest available to answer questions about the church. By the time we were finished it was time for lunch so we wandered through the streets looking for a place to eat. We found Aphrodite Taverna on Hereford St. It was a small restaurant seating about 20 and it had very Greek décor and Greek music playing in the background.

We decided that my friend would order for us and that we would like to try some different things. The vegetable meze sounded just right. This is for 2 or more people and is a sampling of different things. We sat at our table by the window snacking on black and green olives and radishes and pepperoncini, sipping our Greek bottled water. Our first hint that we were in over our heads was when the waiter pulled over the table next to ours to make one long surface (we were already sitting at a table for four! Yikes!). Then he brought fresh warm pita bread and bowls of tabbouleh, three different kinds of hummus, potato salad, bean salad, tsatziki and I can’t remember what else.

Well that wasn’t too bad. We nibbled away, sampling all the different things. Our waiter brought us another basket of pita bread. Then he came over with plates for each of us with spanakopita (spinach pie). Very yummy. Just as we are finishing that, he brings a plate of falafel balls. Also very good. Okay, now we are getting pretty full and ready to head over to the British Museum, but no, here he comes again with dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves). This again is delicious, but by now we are eating less and less. Oh no! Here he comes again! This time he has broiled lamb cheese and tomato. We take tiny bites. And yet again, he comes with marinated Portobello mushroom – one whole mushroom for each us. We beg him to tell us that this is it – that there is no more food. He does not comply with our wishes – he tells us there is more! He brings prawns and calamari! God only knows why we are having fish, it’s supposed to be the vegetable meze. Now we are bursting at the seams because we had to eat the prawns, they were too delicious to leave behind. Our waiter tells us that finally we are at the end and he will be bringing us vegetable kebabs. We tell him no – absolutely not. He wants to wrap it up for us so we can carry it around for hours and hours through the galleries and from tube station to tube station. We tell him NO. Are we sure? He would be so happy to wrap it for us. We can have it for dinner. NO. NO. NO.

Thank God, he’s finally bringing the check. Sharon takes it from him, blanches, and looks like she’s going to lose that lunch that she tried so hard to eat. I ask her, how much is it?

43 POUNDS!!!!! No we wonder he was insistent about taking the kebabs. We had looked at the menu but not the fine print. We thought it was £19.50 – and it was – per person. The exchange rate was about $1.90 per pound, so the tab was pretty darn close to $86.00! For lunch!!! Thank God, we didn’t order wine, we would have hit the $100 mark.

We paid our bill, our waiter thanked us profusely (I’m sure it was his biggest sale of the month), and we waddled off in search of the Bayswater tube. We never had a minute’s regret about leaving the kebabs behind.

Winnipeg, Canada
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2. Re: Your London

1.Being there

2.The tube

3.Walk

4.Hmmmm---not sure

5.The meal we had one balmy February on a roof top terrace.

6.The Tempest---Yes

7.BC Alberta London

8.My favourite pub was modernized and I haven't a new favourite yet.I will have to check out everyone else's favourites.

London, United...
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3. Re: Your London

1. What do you miss most when you're out of London?

My husband!! Other than that, I just plain old miss the whole city and the friends I have met there. I also miss taking the Metropolitan Line into the city and spending the day just walking around window shopping, going to museums and having tea in the afternoons.

2. What is your earliest London memory?

It was 1987 and I was in London for the very first time with my now ex spouse and his best friend. I remember getting of tube and walking up the steps out of the station and there right before us was none other than Big Ben!

3. What advice would you give to a tourist?

When your instincts tell you to look left or right for oncoming traffic, look the opposite direction! (for those who are used to drivers using the left side of the road)

4. What would you do if you were Mayor for a day?

I will pass on this one.

5. What has been your most memorable London meals?

Pass here too, too many to list!

6. What was the last play you saw in London and did you enjoy it?

The last play I saw in London was Jerry Springer, The Opera.......we left at intermission, that says it all! Before that I saw Les Miserables, loved it!

7. Where were the last 3 places you went on holiday?

Limassol, Cyprus

Berlin, Germany

California

I would say London but don't think that would count since my husband is British and lives there and I am there living there half of each year.

8. Do you have a favourite pub?

We like the Audley, fond memories of meeting friend there many times.

Detroit, Michigan
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4. Re: Your London

1. What do you miss most when you're out of London? Everything!!

2. What is your earliest London memory? Our first "daytrip" into London from where we were staying out in Norfolk. I decided then and there that London would need much further exploration.

3. What advice would you give to a tourist? Bring comfortable shoes and don't try to do everything in one visit.

4. What would you do if you were Mayor for a day? Have tea with the Queen. :o)

5. What has been your most memorable London meals? Afternoon tea at Browns.

6. What was the last play you saw in London and did you enjoy it? The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) - very funny. Saw Mamma Mia before that - excellent.

7. Where were the last 3 places you went on holiday? London, Devon, Williamsburg, VA.

8. Do you have a favourite pub? Britannia in Kensington (across the street from where we stay.) :o)

Seattle
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5. Re: Your London

1. What do you miss most when you're out of London?

Just being there because I know I'm on vacation.

2. What is your earliest London memory?

Landing at Heathrow and seeing zillions of 747s and the Concorde.

3. What advice would you give to a tourist?

Plan on a return trip because there is so much to see.

4. What would you do if you were Mayor for a day?

Have the hotels charge 1905 prices for one day and night.

5. What has been your most memorable London meals?

Well, as a snack, yummy bread from Waitrose.

6. What was the last play you saw in London and did you enjoy it?

It's been awhile, but "Oliver" with Jonathan Pryce as Fagin.

7. Where were the last 3 places you went on holiday?

Nice

London

Frankfurt/Munich

8. Do you have a favourite pub?

No.

warrensburg,MO
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6. Re: Your London

What do you miss most when you're out of London?

A pub full of old aquaintences and new friends.

What is your earliest London memory?

1983. The Barbican centre, after a visit to the Museum of London. My mum was winding me up something chronic so I told her to "P--- off". I felt rather faint after that as I knew a beating from my Dad would be administered forthwith.

What advice would you give a tourist?

Subway means an underground pedestrian walkway not a train station. However sometimes both can be combined so following Subway signs may, but not always, lead you to the Tube.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

Reinstate the Routemaster bus.

What has been your most memorable London meal?

A full English Breakfast in Walthamstow, January 1st 2000. Running through the events of the night before with some close friends, over sausage, bacon, egg, beans, mushrooms and a New Millenium.

What was the last play you saw in London and did you enjoy it?

Hamlet at the Old Vic. Enjoyed it, have seen better. Fell asleep in Act Three due to a heavy dinner, a few beers and knowing how it ends.

Do you have a favourite pub?

I have many. The Green Tree in Bath, The Fort St George in Cambridge, The Mill in Withington, The Falkland Arms in Great Tew, The Lamb and Flag in Oxford and the John Bull Chophouse in Wigan where it all started as a 16 year old!!

London
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7. Re: Your London

Good one Mick

We play a format of this at christmas - we all have to guess who the answers belong to, good fun. Anyway, for a local here's mine.

1. Miss most - The history and buildings

2. Earliest memory - Being taken by my granddad to see the Lord Mayors Show.

3. Advice for tourists - don't rush and come back again, we are not going anywhere.

4. Mayor for a Day - already mentioned, keep the routemasters

5. Best meal - The Angel pub in Rotherhithe overlooking the Thames, Mrs Beatons Fish Pie.

6. Last play - Chicago, sorry folks didn't rate it.

7. Last 3 holidays - Paphos (Cyprus), South Carolina (USA) and Costa del Sol (Spain)

8. Fav Pub - Market Porter (Borough Market, White Horse also known as Sloane Pony (Parsons Green)and any Pub on a Sunday lunchtime with Prawns and shell fish as well as roast potatoes being brought round by the staff. Is this a tradition in other countries?

Well there you have it.

San Diego...
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8. Re: Your London

Good post Mick.

1. Just being there.

2. I took the Eurostar from Paris in 1995 for a 24 hour visit to London. I realized immediately that was a mistake. I've made 8 subsequent trips to London and haven't been back to Paris. But I will. I enjoyed my visit to Paris.

3.Definitely don't try to see everything in your first visit.

4. Declare the day a Holiday and have a party.

5. Having lunch in Green Park last November when cannons started firing. The Queen was coming back from Parliment so I walked over and right up to the front of the barrier (the joys of off season London). 20 min later she came by in her coach.

6. A Winter's Tale at the Globe. Play was good, seating not so good even with the rented cushion. Too cramped. BTW Chicago is very good. Mamma Mia is my favorite play (closely followed by Le Miz).

7. London, London and Holland, Iceland.

8. The Lamb, The Goose (both locals for a dear friend.)

London, UK
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9. Re: Your London

1. What do you miss most when you're out of London?

If outside the UK as well, then tea, tea, and tea! If just in the sticks (ie anywhere else in UK) then EVERYTHING, including the hustle and bustle and just the variety of everything. Can never get back fast enough!

2. What is your earliest London memory?

Circa 1980, being about 4 years old and chasing the pigeons around Trafalgar Sq. Oh and always staring up at Battersea Power station from the back seat of the car, whenever driving past...

3. What advice would you give to a tourist?

Walk as much as you can, especially down a lot of the side streets which can lead to all sorts of interesting places you never knew were there... oh, and please, please, please don't stand on the left side of the escalators!

4. What would you do if you were Mayor for a day?

Stop the expansion of the congestion charge.

5. What has been your most memorable London meals?

Dinner at Nobu - just gorgeous, never knew I could eat so much...

6. What was the last play you saw in London and did you enjoy it?

Chicago - loved it though missed seeing Michael French in it by one day!

7. Where were the last 3 places you went on holiday?

Holland, New York and Montreal.

8. Do you have a favourite pub?

Don't do Pubs.

Indianapolis
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10. Re: Your London

1. The feeling of complete joy I experience whenever I am there

2. Seconds after landing at Gatwick on my first visit, someone behind me begins whistling "Rule Brittania"

3. Be a traveler, never a tourist

4. Eliminate the VAT

5. The North End Restaurant, November of 2000. Good food but more memorable for the good company

6. Sorry, never interested me enough to go

7. Boston, Madison (Wisconsin) & London

8. The Blackfriar