This may come as a surprise, but the boys weren't the only ones with a birthday in early October. This year Kevin's often-shortchanged birthday (falling as it does, a mere three days after B&O) was a bit more festive than usual in honor of him turning the big 4-0. We celebrated in typical 40th fashion with a trip to London with our friends for three days of kid-free revelry. Yep, every now and then we manage to do things up right around here.
We landed, dropped our bags at the hotel and set out immediately for our traditional trip to Borough Market for Brindisa's chorizo and rocket sandwiches. Followed by the best oysters I've ever tasted, insanely good Iberico ham, one of Kappacasein's famous grilled cheese, and of course, our first pub stop for not-quite-cold-enough beer. Yum.
Because we are all super cultured, we sauntered through the Tate Modern for a bit before heading back across Millenium Bridge with its beautiful views of St Paul's and the Thames.
Rather than give into napping temptation, I forced myself out for a run that afternoon through St James and Regents' Parks, past Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards, thoroughly entertained by the tourists letting squirrels climb up their legs (for real, shudder), the angry swans, and the scenery. Running just might be my favorite way to explore new cities. Or at least a very close second to cocktail-based exploration.
We ate at Ottolenghis' NOPI that night and not only was everything ridiculously delicious, but seated next to me at the massive communal table was the guy who plays Syrio Forel on Game of Thrones. Could there be a more random celebrity sighting? I think not.
Saturday was the big birthday, and the festivities started early with a 10K race out at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park way the hell out in Stratford. Possibly the most adorable race I've ever run. There were 101 runners, and the race began with the organizer sheepishly (and oh-so-Britishly) asking us all to queue up, then announcing, "well, alright then, I'll just count down, shall I? 3, 2, 1, go!"
Pretty sure by some sort of transitive property, we are all now Olympians.
The Park's "Orbit" sculpture, otherwise apparently known as the Shard's ugly sister. Even more hideous in person.
As it was Kevin's birthday after all, Lisa and I humored him and Gonzalo and agreed to a post-race outing to the RAF Museum in Colindale to look at many, many airplanes.
We regrouped afterwards with a stop off in Hampstead where we opted to skip the Heath rambling part to maximize our pub time instead. England really has got the quaint adorable wee street thing down to perfection.
The next day, the menfolk went off for yet more warmongering at the Imperial War Museum while the ladies trekked off to the Tate Britain for the Turner show.
Are those two naval cannons with a 16 mile range behind you or are you just happy to see me?
Despite what the ticket said, "persistent standing" was very much required. The entire experience was surreal, from the wall of guards protecting us from the Chelsea supporters, to the prison-like-feel of the away section, to the 90 straight minutes of taunting/profanity being chanted by our entire section in unison. Insane, but in a good way.
Our seats certainly didn't suck.
Our final night of pubs interspersed with roaming about the streets in search of absurd historical plaques. Ah London, I heart you.