This Thanksgiving, my mom took an eleven hour flight to visit us in London. Here, turkey isn’t on sale until December, we missed sweet potato and pumpkin pie, we didn’t experience Daisuke’s first encounter with sticky rice, and we knew Corey wouldn’t get a day off. Yet, we couldn’t help but feel incredibly grateful for our time together, and with her permission, I’m sharing an email my mom sent me the day after returning from her trip overseas.
I’ve only edited a few sections, as I thought it was best to stay true to her words. Because this post isn’t in chronological order, I’ve added the day to day itineraries at the end of the post.
I am thankful for 2 daughters whom I love and rely on them immensely.
I am thankful for curiosity. It gives you freedom.
I am thankful for you living in London and NY, so I can visit and see another part of the world.
I am thankful that I like my daughters’ partners. They are fun and love my girls. Lucky.
I am thankful for good street art. Simple and Amazing.
I am thankful that artists are dedicated, creative and can support themselves via their art. (My mom is a beast when it comes to museums).
I am thankful for crows. They are smart and their midnight black feathers are so amazingly beautiful.
I am thankful for sheep who give us wool. A simple fiber to create with and produce clothing that keeps us very warm. (I’m cheating on this one because my mom has all the pics of the sheep… I should mention that she also was thankful for Christmas trees and took a shot every single day. Here’s a brief look).
I am thankful for immigrants/migrants who bring their food culture to new countries to share with anyone and everyone. So delicious. Ottolenghi – what a find! I am thankful for all his cookbooks!
I am thankful for having a personal tour guide for my stay in London and my visit to Paris. You have learned quickly of the city that you live in. I am thankful that you have friends who share their favorites as well and who have the privilege and desire to see the world.
As I took my 1st morning walk back home in Oakland, I realized that I am thankful that I can still walk and run to catch a train. That was some 100 yard sprint I did. I didn’t even have running shoes on! Not bad for an older mom! (We had to run to the catch a train to the Roald Dahl museum. But old? I think not, Mom. You climbed 345 steps up the Eiffel Tower, another 245 up the Arc de Triomphe, and trekked about 10 miles a day to see the sights in two different cities. Check her out!)
love you much.
Quick Shot (links added here)
Day 1/2: Arrival and dinner at Afghan Kitchen (get a reservation if you can)
- Changing of the Guard (Check the schedule and get there at least an hour early for the guard at Buckingham Palace)
- Walk St. James Park and enjoy the water fowl
- Peek at the Changing of the Horse Guard
- Churchill War Room
- Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
- Lunch at Ippudo (take the bus) but want to go to this ramen shop across the street
- Walk to Covent Garden, Picadilly Circus, Fortnum & Mason, and Harrod’s Holiday Windows
- Curry dinner at home
- Walk London Bridge
- (Borough Market is closed on Sunday but one could get lunch here if this was Fri or Sat)
- Queen’s Walk along the South Bank starting from London Bridge
- Tower Bridge
- London Design Museum
- Maison d’etre Coffee Stop and walk to Ottolenghi’s Late Lunch on Sunday ONLY
- Eurostar to Gard de Nord and walk to Rue de Montorgueil
- Eat at Stoher Bakery, please
- Walk to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Lacemaker
- Walk through the Louvre’s Jardin Tuileries and cab/long walk to the Eiffel Tower
- Dinner at La Creperie de Josselin and get some cider with your crepes
- Breakfast at Cafe Du Central
- Musee Marmottan Monet
- Arc de Triomphe and mini walk down Champs Elysees
- Musee des Arts Decoratifs (we didn’t eat lunch)
- Stroll Rue de St Anne (like a mini-Japan town)
- Eat udon at Sanukiya
- Walk Rue Saint Honore (shopping) to Palace de la Madeleine for fancy gourmet food stops like Maille mustard and Fauchon food hall and the smaller Hediard
- More Stoher bakery for breakfast and the day’s snacks
- Walk Beauborg and Les Halles’ Jardin Nelson Mandela to see Forum des Halles (underground maze of a shopping mall), St-Eustache (gothic church modeled on Notre Dame), and Bourse du Commerce (commodities exchange)
- Walk to Notre Dame and Sainte- Chapelle (medieval church) on the Ile de la Cite (the islands in the center of the city)
- Cross over to the Latin Quarter to see the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore and Boulevard St. Michel
- Markets: Rue de Mouffetard or Marche Edgar Quinet
- L’as Du Falafel and cab to Gard Du Nord
- Dinner at Lahore back in London with the wine from Paris (order the lamb chops starter, fish curry, garlic naan, daal tarka… and chicken tikka or lamb curry if you still want more meat)
- Brixton Market for meat, fish, grains, veggies, arts, crafts, fabric, longjohns and yummy lunch at El Rancho de Lalo (get the tripe soup!)
- Mini Thanksgiving meal
- Royal Arts Academy for the Ai Weiwei exhibit
- Lunch at Borough Market (the kid goat meal is delish every time)
- Tate Modern: The World Goes Pop exhibit
- Walk Millennium bridge and see St. Paul’s Cathedral
- West End Show: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
- Coach tour (Premium Tours groupon) for Stonehenge, Bath, the Cotswolds, and Stratford Upon Avon
- Dinner at home (leftovers)
- Shakshuka breakfast (Plenty recipe that we made for 3 people)
- Roald Dahl museum
- Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair
- Ottolenghi (Round 2) Late Afternoon Lunch on Sunday ONLY
- Packing for home (early train back to Heathrow on Monday)