TRAVEL with pat and lew

* London … with friends from New York and Key West, and dinner at Westminster Abbey

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 20, 2010

After reluctantly completing our week at Oxford, we took the Oxford Tube coach (bus) to London. It’s a ride of about an hour and quite comfortable. The bus was filled with young ladies on their way to what they called a “hen do,” a party for a soon-to-be bride.

We stayed at the Millennium, where we had stayed before, a quite comfortable and reasonably priced hotel in Knightsbridge, close to an underground stop and within a few blocks of the fabulous Harrod’s, probably the world’s greatest department store.


Rawy and Nijole, our friends from Key West, were in London after spending a week in the English countryside. We had a sinful snack in Harrod’s chocolate bar, and were told about the unexplained “crop circles” they had seen. Are these the creation of pranksters or extra-terrestrials?

On Sunday morning, we had brunch with one of Pat’s dear running friends from New York, also named Pat, and her friend Tom at a delightful restaurant in Sloane Square, a 15 minute walk from our hotel. After breakfast, we went to the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square to see an exhibit about real and imitation masterpieces. After reading the erudite descriptions of how copies were made and detected, my conclusion is that the curators are still not sure if the museum has the original or not, and that in 50 years, they will draw other conclusions as more sophisticated techniques are developed.



But clearly the most spectacular event of the weekend was dinner at Westminster Abbey. Last spring, Sandy, one of Pat’s friends in Key West had introduced us to her new neighbors, Jeff and Stuart, who lived in England and had just purchased a home in Key West. They invited us to visit them in Oxford, where Jeff works. That didn’t work out, but we did get this invitation from Jeff, with directions that included the words Whitehall, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the big Cathedral on the left.

We taxied to Westminster Abbey and were given directions by the guard at the gate, “Just go left, then right, then left again, and keep going. You can’t miss it.” So off we set through a series of medieval passages and gardens. The deeper we got into the complex, the more I was convinced someone would soon come to arrest us. But eventually we found Jeff and Stuart’s unique and beautiful apartment.

on the way to Little Cloisters

We did indeed begin with drinks in the garden. What an understatement! The garden is a large common space with small tables, and the view is Parliament!


Then came dinner. In the marvelous setting. With great conversation. And it was delicious, including Jeff’s main course and Stuart’s signature dessert.



On Monday, we went to one of the many half-price ticket offices in London’s Theatre District and got really good seats to a production of HAIR, the “mother of all rock musicals,” at the John Gielgud Theatre. One of us really like it, and the other … not so much.

Sasha Allen stars as Dionne in 'Hair'


The next morning, after another breakfast with Rawy and Nijole, who had seen the apartments at Buckingham Palace, open for two weeks each year while the Queen is elsewhere. Then a taxi to Liverpool Station, a train to Stansted Airport, Ryanair (on time!) to Perpignan, a bus to the train station, a train to Collioure, and we were home. For four days, when we go to Paris for three weeks on two different home exchanges.



2 Responses to “* London … with friends from New York and Key West, and dinner at Westminster Abbey”

  1. sharon & brian hyland said

    You both look fantastic…you look younger every year!
    We are headed to London in 2012 for the Olympics..Brian will be working..I’ll be playing! Will contact you in the future for MUST Eats!
    Cheerio Ol’ Chaps!
    Sharon in NYC

  2. Karen & Joe said

    Wow! What a fabulous ride you two are having. Enjoy Paris K&J

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