My final day in London had me heading for the underground tube once again. Today’s destination is Spitalfield’s Antique Market. I am most likely looking at a need to check additional luggage at a rate of $60 per bag; ouch! The excitement of the hustle and bustle of people trying to find hidden treasures among the rows of antique dealers is mesmerizing. Stalls containing vintage clothing and jewelry from the 1920’s to the 1960’s were everywhere. As I explore deeper I could see some of the treasures I was rummaging around for: linen tablecloths, silverware, serving vessels, and china (always a concern when thinking of packing in luggage). In addition to antiques, there are all kinds of people dressed in outfits that immediately took me back in time; this was beyond doubt the ultimate playground for people watching.
Surrounding the market were numerous stores and restaurants. I took a break to have lunch at Giraffe, a very eclectic restaurant offering dishes from all over the world. It was serendipitous that my friend and I were immediately drawn to the large mezze platter, perfect to share. In Greece mezze is meant to be a social event, multiple small dishes to share with the whole table over conversation and laughter (much like tapas in Spain). As the waitress arrived with the platter my eyes widened and the smile on my face grew larger. The platter was filled with: hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, brown rice & lentil salad, tabbouleh salad, falafel , grilled halloumi skewer, lamb kofta & za’atar spiced chicken skewer, spicy harissa and pita bread. The dishes brought a vast variety of flavors, colors and textures: creamy, crunchy, spicy, tangy and cool. If it wasn’t so early I would have ordered a tumbler of ouzo to round off the lunch.
One final hurrah in London took place at St. Stephan’s Tavern across from Big Ben. My friends and I just sat back and spoke of the great times we had over the last three weeks. As the hours passed, stories from 1979 came into conversation; this is the time when Pat and I made our first trip to London just after graduating from high school (I guess I just dated myself). Young and naïve, Pat and I had taken off at some ungodly hour to tour the streets of London. Reality hit when we looked up to see this gigantic clock; is that really Big Ben? Following just down the road we ran into a huge wall with a bobby standing outside guarding it like it was the palace; low and behold, it was the palace! Unbelievable, my little adventure was a fairy tale come true. As the stories and laughter continued I couldn’t help but feel blessed for such a special friendship which has grown over thirty years.
Tomorrow, a long journey home!