My dear friend Ti came to visit us for a couple of days and we spent what one could call a very cultural weekend together :)
We started our weekend on Friday night with a dinner at a Chinese buffet in China town which looked bright and colourful even in the pouring rain.
Due to Ti's efforts of getting up at 6am to queue in the cold wind with other hundreds of people in front of The National Gallery - all willing to get tickets which were long before bought out and sold on the internet for up to 350 pounds - we managed to visit Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. The exhibition - the first of its kind anywhere in the world - is the most complete display of Leonardo’s rare surviving paintings ever held.
Next on our agenda was Windsor castle, which is quite an impressive architectural structure and holds a very big collection of art belonging to the British Royal Family. Windsor is a very pleasant town to spend a day in - it has a small cosy centre with little shops and nice cafes. As it appears that tickets to Windsor Castle are valid for the whole year, we'll definitely come back to both the town and the Castle some time in spring.
Below are the pictures of some of my favourite Windsor Castle rooms. I was also curious to learn that the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree was brought over to the Royal Family from Germany and it was Queen Victoria who made this a wide-spread tradition across the country and probably all Europe by letting a picture of the Royal Family around Christmas tree being published in a newspaper in 1848.
The King's Bed Chamber
The Crimson Drawing Room
The Green Drawing Room
Our journey that day ended with a visit to an Indian restaurant on Brick Lane by which we again incorporated a whole new bit of a different culture into our weekend :).
Next day we were pretty tired after the previous trip and as it was too hard to get up early, we decided to take it easy and after breakfast at home we headed to one of the biggest bookshops in London - right next to Charing Cross and Trafalgar square, where we spent good couple of hours and I bought a couple of books I'm looking forward to be inspired by very soon.
It was easy to take a walk straight to Westminster from Trafalgar - we were lucky to be passing by Royal Mews at exactly 4PM to be able to see the daily Queen's Lifeguards and Horses inspection. Straight after to warm ourselves up and sit down we dropped by St Stephens Tavern - a very traditional pub just opposite The Houses of Parliament - for some afternoon tea and a quick snack.
I was truly taken by surprise with my Baked Potato dish - which turned up to be very tasty - as I have previously never been a fan of this typically British dish.
images by Arek, Olga and TI except for those from Windsor Castle, Chinatown and Brick Lane
The last highlight of the weekend was the organ recital at Westminster Abbey we visited, which was also one of the not many reasons you would normally be let inside the Abbey as these days it is closed for visitors more often than not.