The Bailiwick in Windsor delighted us with its exquisite fish pie and seared scallops the evening before. This indulgent dining experience, we imagined was going to be awfy hard to beat when we traveled south to London town.
Bermondsey Street, SE1 put up two impressive looking eateries, both carrying the name of a particularly colourful dude, Jose. Choose between the simple tapas bar or more refined Jose Pizarro. Pizarro won our business and our palettes. Exceptional Spanish flavours delivered with care and accompanied by earthy Spanish wines.
Satisfied, we wrapped our scarfs snugly, wandering back to London Bridge, fascinated by SE1, a neighborhood populated by artisan bars and cafes, smart offices and quirky design studious. Swathes of light and purpose in a historically grim location.
Beyond the grime, there is a lost horizon waiting to be found. Especially if you are prepared to chip through the sheer ice like exterior of the Shard. A trip to the 35th Floor, elevator doors askance and voila, the Shangrilah greets you with its majestic perch over The Thames, over the heart of London.
Beyond the grandeur in the clouds, the Shard continues to impress, from the heated toilet seats, luxury accommodation and of course, as you float in the pool on the 52nd floor, commanding views that embrace the marmite spread of this amazing city.
In 1666 London was burning. Now, on London Bridge it is freezing. I can't help but wonder what Sir Christopher Wren would think of London and the Shard in Brexit elect times. We marvel at his work on St Paul's Cathedral and indeed in Greenwich, still commanding the lines of sight he imagined across the city, extending as far as Greenwich. Both sites were symbolic of the skill set of London in the day, the capacity of Great Britain to rise above adversity and together with Royal approval, claim authority and permanence.
Wren's prominence as preferred architect to the crown prevailed until last century when London was burning yet again. The blitz set seige to the city and St Pauls threatening again the very survival of this incredible city. On this occasion, it was a very confident and self assured leader, Winston Churchill who delivered the leadership that London required. Not always in sync with Royal approval, Churchill generally embodied the British spirit, Queen & country.
His perseverance and leadership contributed to preserving the capital and the country. It is perhaps at his funeral in the 60's that you recognise the depth of feeling for Churchill. Beyond the outpouring of grief by the people, on the Thames you witness a sequila of cranes each orchestrated to bow simultaneously.
The memory of Churchill and Wren are present in the London of now. It remains a vibrant and stoic city still ready to delight contemporary visitors like our good selves.
Expect to be overwhelmed and expect to be impressed by this current and important London.