Dear Shelley. A journal. Day 2.

Dear Shelley,

London Tweet Meet Natural Science Museum

Such a wonderful night and morning of great weather!  I even pulled up a summer blanket over my sheet this morning to stay warm.  The sound of the sea waves lull me to sleep and are the first thing I hear when I awake.  As soon as I wake up I close my eyes again to hear the sea. The next layer of sound is the chattering birds and next will come the church bells. Lovely way to wake up!

Since you miss out on the gorgeous Greek nights while you are so busy, I have been making a plan for your retirement!  We will each have a summer cottage close to the beach.  We will each also have a house inland a few kilometers drive into the mountains so we will have an excellent view.  Nice plan?

The London trip proved that Twitter is not necessarily a scary place to spend time.  Several of us that tweet each other daily met in person and we are all nice, fun people.  We’re already planning next year’s meet.  Starting to plan a meet in Alexandria! Dreams come true!

After all these years I finally found a perfect table wine, exactly to my taste, at an Italian restaurant in London!  The restaurant is La Pappardela on Old Brompton Road very near to the hotel where we were staying on Earl’s Court.  The wine is Della Poggio Quercia, Rubicone Sangiovese, Corte Viola.  Just in case you can find some!  A full-bodied red wine with no aftertaste, best to drink at room temperature.  Hmm, or we should probably plan a shopping trip to Italy to buy a few (dozen?) bottles.  I may have a chance to do that.  If so I will share some with you next summer.

We ate at this Italian restaurant often because the food, coffee, and desserts were so good. Plus it was very clean and we liked being able to count on that.  Several places were quite dirty and/or had inappropriate objects in the food.  That doesn’t mean we didn’t eat well though.

We ate at a Lebanese restaurant where one of the fellows turned out to be Iraqi-Swedish and a chef!  They had great Middle Eastern food, some just like in Greece. One of the other fellows has a brother here who owns a hotel! We may see him some day when he comes to visit his brother.  The atmosphere was homey and comfortable plus they made great veggie-fruit juices.

Just as you leave the Earl’s Court station and turn to the right, exactly at that spot is a famous little shop, famous for pasties from Cornwall.  I can understand why, very delicious.  Also nice muffins with blueberries, raspberries, and other goodies to chose from.  The fellow there was also very welcoming although super busy because he had just taken over the shop to make sure it was clean and running smoothly.  He was a former architect from Algeria.  His displays of food were very artistic.  He needed four more years of study to practice architecture in England so he switched to management for the Cornwall pasty shops.  He seemed really happy dealing with every detail of his work; except for trying to train new workers, they seemed overwhelmed with the prices and computerized cash register.

At the Italian restaurant most everybody, manager, servers, etc. were Italian.  At our hotel the management was mostly from Pakistan.  One elderly Pakistani gentleman visited quite a bit with N and me.  We learned he has a son practicing medicine at a hospital in Pakistan, another son studying and, unfortunately, he had lost his wife.  He gave N a lot of compliments and encouragement towards her university studies coming up.

The first time I met in person @katchemeng was at the airport in Athens. We seemed to have known each other forever although truly we had only met each other through Twitter.  On our first morning in London we headed to the Natural Science Museum for viewing the exhibits and shopping in the museum store. That was a good time for us, especially considering we are nerd girls (without shame or embarrassment!).

We were so exhausted when we returned to the hotel we immediately took naps until we heard a soft tapping on the door.  Miraculously @lauratheexpat had found us.  We were so happy.  She was very kind to us from the beginning – she brought everyone Swiss chocolate.  She also has an ipod with a map of London and the underground so she was our excellent navigator.  Finally we were able to meet @brygida_poland and her friend, and our “foreign” band of tweeters had arrived and was ready to discover London.  We were from Poland, Greece, Crete, USA and Switzerland all meeting in person for the first time! Some had said it couldn’t be done without problems but we were really happy to spend time together.

Have you heard about Catalonia banning Bull Fighting?  I was very surprised they would be the first.  I heard a report on AJE that part of the dynamic was displaying their independence from Spain, too, not only that the Catalonia Parliament expressed that bull fighting was barbaric.  After so many thousands of years do you think we may be watching the last ritual involving the bull pass out of fashion?  Interesting times!

Catch the kisses we are sending you, love, Vicki