Tuesday, December 20, 2011

London and All That Jazz - Part Two

Scott, Tony and Hilary at St. Katherine Docks
Both old and new boats line this historic
From left to right Sue, Tony, Scott, Heather , Hilary and Tony
on board "Angel Louise"
Hilary poses alongside the Tower Bridge on the Thames
On Saturday evening we had tickets for La Sonnambula at the Royal Opera House and dinner in their fabulous restaurant. We got as gussied up as our suitcase wardrobe allowed and stopped off on the way at "Angel Louise" to visit Ed and Sue at their berth in St. Katherine Docks. They are spending the winter at this downtown marina right near the Tower of London. Their 2011 cruise has certainly been a study in contrasts; the Florida Keys, Bermuda, the Azores, weeks on the Atlantic and now in the center of a great city.
The amazing restaurant at the Opera House. Check out the "suspended bar" at the top left. It's an optical illusion. The
rear wall is a mirror.
The Opera was terrific, especially the performance by soprano Eglise Gutierrez. The glitzy set, an Art Deco sanitarium set high in the Alps, was fun although logic as usual was missing from the plot. The wonderfully musical score by Bellini was the real hit. Or perhaps I should admit it was the dinner in the fabulous restaurant. My photos here do not do it credit. We ate up in the Balconies overlooking the restored hall, formerly a flower market. The food, ordered months in advance, was wonderful as was the service, but the setting was magical. It was a very special evening.
Sunday was really our last day as we flew home early Monday morning. We decided to stay close by and visit the Maritime Museum in Greenwich. We really loved our by now familiar walk through Blackheath and Greenwich Park and this time continued down past the Royal Observatory to the Thames. This is a huge museum packed with fascinating exhibits and unfortunately we didn't have enough time to do it justice. We'll hopefully return another day.
Tony and Hilary picked us up after lunch at the museums' pleasant cafe and we drove into the Barbicon complex. We went to the matinee performance of "Louis the Movie", Director Dan Pritzker's new silent film, with a score composed by Wynton Marsalis. It was part of the London Jazz Festival and featured Cecile Acherie on the piano and a terrific New Orleans jazz ensemble. It was a fun homage to Louis Armstrong and silent films. A nice surprise was finding the young talented star in the audience afterwards. He received a large ovation.
On our last night we had a wonderful and elegant dinner at home with our hosts. It was a perfect cap to an amazing week in London and a wonderful two months in Europe. Although we were looking forward to returning home, this trip did not tire us out. We could have kept going. We believe it was due to staying in one place often during the trip. We had two weeks on the boat, and one week stays at houses in Provence, Pisa, Naples and London. Most of the time we ate at home for at least two meals a day. Staying at hotels and eating out is really wonderful but it would be tiring for months at a time. This was really the perfect combination. And last it was spending time with our great friends; Walt & Honoree, John & Brenda and Tony & Hilary. Thank you so much!
This was the balcony where we had
the most amazing dinner  before the Opera
and then dessert during the intermission.
Greenwich Park leading down to the Thames
The Planetarium at the Royal Observatory
The view down to the Maritime Museum from the heights
at the Observatory
A close up of the Maritime Museum and the Queen's House,
which was under renovation.
We've been in a Force 8 storm over three days at anchor
in Curacao with Hurricane Omar.
A variety of ships are displayed in the open courtyard of
the Maritime Museum. This is a royal barge.
The fabulous view looking down the central courtyard
from the Thames
The table set for our farewell dinner at Tony
and Hilary's home in Blackheath

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