It had been a little over a full month of WWOOF’ing and traveling while away from the comforts of home when Thanksgiving grew near. As the day of feast approached, we couldn’t help but feel a longing to be with loved ones.
Thanksgiving is likely our favorite holiday; mashing good company, delicious food, football and elastic waistline pants all in one, with extra gravy on top. We knew we’d miss out while abroad, but didn’t expect our homesickness tide to be this strong.
But, alas, there shined a light at the end of the tunnel… the Liikalas and Ed’s proactive dinner planning. Ed is a closet “Londonite” and we couldn’t have been more grateful. We dined at an “American” bar and restaurant: Jackson + Rye. Ed had done his homework; Jackson + Rye promised to serve a contemporary Thanksgiving dinner.
Brittany’s former co-worker and her dad, Carolyn and Michael (aka the Liikalas), had planned to be in London during the time we spent there. Looking forward to seeing a familiar face, our adventures on Thanksgiving day started in the morning. We awoke to a thoughtful and endearing handmade sign by Ed, wishing us a spiffing day.
Michael/Mr. Liikala, had meetings lined up during the day and Ed had to work, so the three of us hopped to – first giving Caro the official Oyster Card and tube transportation intro.
The Winter Wonderland atmosphere, Christmas music, hot mulled cider and brisk London air concocted the perfect recipe to ignite holiday spirit. All happy to oblige, we walked along scanning the vendors with various goodies on display.
The festival goodies varied from holiday food and beverages to handmade crafts. Perhaps most impressive were the ‘live’ displays, craftsmen working in their trade, creating sculptures and art right before our eyes.
Even the swans were impressed. Side note, did you know the Queen of England owns every swan along the Thames River? That’s right. She OWNS them. She is the only one allowed to eat them. Read more about that weird little law here.
I bring to you, The Spread Eagle.
Yep. And it wasn’t the last time we would visit the Eagle in the next couple days.
The menu included buttermilk fried turkey breast, green bean casserole, mac n’ cheese, beet filled ravioli, mashed potatoes, sweet potato french fries and wine (of course) + pecan pie for dessert. We have to say, J&R gave a strong second-string performance for a Thanksgiving abroad.
A great meal shared, another Thanksgiving come and gone. The next day saw Carolyn and Michael’s last day in Europe. We wanted to squeeze-in as much as possible. First up, ice skating at Somerset House. Brittany had read, countless times, about skating and the magical scene at Somerset. The pictures were ever so dreamy. Carolyn, undoubtedly, was in.
Sooner or later, they got the hang of it and were passing people like rocket ships. Speeding through the rink, flipping each other in the air and taking out small children in the process. Just kidding, that didn’t happen. Or maybe it did, but you’ll never know.
Skating around the courtyard rink at Somerset House was incredible. It felt like something from a dream; the London air just chilly enough to complement the scene, though not unbearable.
We dropped our bikes off, walked a LONG way back to the Spread Eagle (duh), then the tube toward home. Our night ended with late-night Italian, joined by Mr. Liikala. Around midnight we headed off for jazz at one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world, Ronnie Scott’s. Ronnie Scott’s opened its doors in 1959 and has since hosted some legendary names. A fantastic goodbye to the Liikalas.
We spent our last couple days in London making visits to the National History Museum, more boba tea and annoying Ed of course. 😉 Speaking of Ed, the super-awesome person he is, cooked us a steak dinner for our “last supper.” We visited the butcher (conveniently located just down the street) to pick our cuts.
I wouldn’t say it’s the best picture of all of us, but definitely one we wont forget.
Couchsurfing in France is next, stay tuned.
Blondie and the Beard