Thursday, September 01, 2005

A brief synopsis of my London and Paris visit

This blog swings back and forth between being serious essays on issues in conducting and music, and more pedestrian entries noting what's going on in my life. This entry will swing towards the latter.

8/15 - arrive in London
eat dinner at Il Vecchio Monde on Cromwell Rd. Not that great.

morning: go on London eye, go bungee-jumping on South Bank, see mimes on South Bank, walk to Trafalgar Sq.
eat lunch at Garfunkel's in Trafalagar
afternoon: visit St. Martin-in-the-Fields, pick up theater tickets for the evening, walk through St. James Park, see outside of Westminster Abbey
eat dinner hurriedly at an American diner near theatre (!!!)
evening: see Woman in White, Lloyd Webber's new musical. Is about what you would expect - I find it quite enjoyable, if unsurprising.

morning: meet up with my friend D
eat lunch at the Marlborough Head, a perfectly lovely pub with secret bookcase doorways to the bathrooms
afternoon: wander Covent Garden and watch the buskers, hit another pub
eat dinner at Pasha, a North African restaurant on Gloucester Rd. Very good.
evening: go to BBC Proms, see Paul Hillier and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Fine performance.

morning: see auto-icon of Jeremy Bentham and British museum
eat lunch at British Museum. Fairly miserable and over-priced food.
afternoon: continue to wander British museum. Have very nice private tour with a volunteer on early Celtic artifacts
eat dinner at Ask, an Italian restaurant on Cromwell Rd. Very good.
evening: visit a coffee house on Gloucester Rd. Mom has best cappucino ever.

morning: meet K, family friend
eat lunch at the Hook and Cleaver with K, near Smithfield Market. As is drizzling and chilly, finally understand the true magic of British pubs.
afternoon: walk through Barbican, find nearby music store
evening: go to BBC Proms, see LSO under Sir Colin Davis perform Tippett #4 and Beethoven #3. Graceful and gentlemanly performance, w/ incredibly tight ensemble.
eat dinner at Koi, a Japanese restaurant on Gloucester Rd. which is divine.

morning: go to Portobello Rd. with Mom, incredible market that I highly recommend. Get hit by car. Buy several presents.
eat lunch at Electric, a shockingly good bar on Portobello Rd. V. good watercress soup with goat cheese.
afternoon: continue wandering Portobello Rd, also stop by Harrods. Have incredibly overpriced sushi snack at Harrods.
evening: go to BBC Proms, see LPO under Kurt Masur perform Sofia Gubaidulina's The Light of the End and Beethoven's 9th. Much broader stroke and bigger energy than previous night.

morning: drive to Oxford
eat lunch at a pub called the White Horse. Like all pubs I visit in England, the food is entirely satisfying.
afternoon: wander bookstores, walk around Christ Church Meadow. Father and brother watch Chelsea vs. Arsenal.
eat lunch at Le Petit Blanc, v. good French restaurant in Jericho section.

morning: visit Blenheim Castle. See very good sword demonstration.
eat lunch at Blenheim Castle
afternoon: visit Mini Cooper factory
eat dinner at the Eagle and Child, which was the meeting place of the Inklings, a group that included Tolkein and Lewis, and which they called the Bird and Baby. Find all this out quite by accident when reading placques on the wall.
evening: see The Importance of Being Earnest at the Oxford Playhouse. Very enjoyable - especially enjoy Cecily.

morning: private tour of Bodleian and Magdalen College w/ RB, librarian and colleague of my father's.
eat lunch at Queen's Lane Coffeehouse. Quite good and reasonably priced (nearly faint.)
afternoon: punting on the River Cherwall. Not as embarrassing as feared. Drive back to London.
eat dinner at Frontline, a restaurant near Paddington Station. Possibly the best meal I have in England.
evening: go to Fountain's Abbey pub, watch end of some crucial soccer game with father and brother, stay out late drinking and talking w/ A.

morning: fly to Paris
NO LUNCH - v. unhappy
afternoon: check into Tim Hotel in Montparnasse
eat dinner at Zazous. Perfect. In France at last!

morning: visit Cemetaire de Montparnasse, see graves of Saint-Saens, Poincare, Beckett, etc. Then visit catacombs. Cannot recommend highly enough. V. creepy.
eat lunch late at small cafe near Alesia road
early evening: see The Island (w/ French subtitles) Shockingly good - quite delightful, since previews made it look quite bad.
eat dinner at yet another non-descript perfect French cafe.

morning: meet w/ friend CFC
lunch: picked up at small corner bakery - cheese, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with mayonnaise on real French bread. Yum.
afternoon: prepare house in Berzy-le-Sec for wedding. Old charming house in old charming cute French countryside.
eat dinner at Pere Claude with wedding party. Best chicken ever, and best potatoes. Continue to adore France - way to my heart is through my stomach.

morning: meet w/ CFC
lunch: buffet by groom's parents. Bread, fruit, cheese, meat, v. delightful cherry tomatoes.
afternoon: check into Hotel Le Regent, prepare for wedding
Wedding, feasting, partying!

Go home.

My brother would no doubt want me to recount the jottings he made in my notebook, namely the soccer games he saw and the types of beer he tried, but since his handwriting is illegible, I'm afraid this entry will remain centered around me.