Monday, April 25, 2016

The London Diaries: Day 2 - Saturday 12th March 2016

Winding our way down to.....

On Saturday morning we returned to Baker Street for our first planned activity of the day. Now we are not "museum people" and usually avoid conventional museums on holiday unless it is something specific or unusual which has sparked our interest.  In previous years for example we've visited the Museum of Communism (Prague), the Chocolate Museum (Cologne), the DDR museum (Berlin) and the particularly harrowing Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (Riga).  So this time we were off to a museum dedicated to the world's most famous fictional detective.

Of course everything about this place is fictional - it's not really situated at 221b Baker Street, but it is all very well done and very authentic.  You enter through the well-stocked gift shop, packed with some very pricey souvenirs, then upstairs to the actual museum which is spread across separate floors.  You get to see Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson's living quarters, as well as some scary scenarios from the books.  I also enjoyed reading the letters sent from all over the world.


Faithful travelling companion is a big Sherlock Holmes fan (the old-school version, none of this Cumberbatched modernisation) however I've never read the books or watched the films or TV shows. After visiting this museum it has definitely got me interested in reading the stories.  More to add to my backlog....!

I would definitely recommend a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum but if you are planning to visit, get there early or you will have to join a very long queue to enter.  It is a very small museum and only a very limited number of people can be admitted at one time.  The queue was stretching down Baker Street by the time we left the museum just before lunchtime. By the way, wasn't the "policeman" on the door a very "arresting" sight????

Next it was off to the Tube station to head for this afternoon's main event.

Here is the very rare sight of an empty Tube carriage.  It wouldn't be empty for long as it would quickly fill up.  The train was Wimbledon-bound, but our destination today was Putney Bridge station.

The journey from Edgware Road to Putney Bridge took just under 15 minutes.  Why Putney Bridge? Well, you will remember that I mentioned that we were going to a football match.  As it was impossible to get Premiership tickets, we then looked at the Championship and after some research we chose the match between Fulham FC and Bristol City.

After a pub lunch in Fulham High Street we made our way to Fulham's ground, Craven Cottage which is situated in a very upmarket and civilised area, down by the Thames.  I wonder if this rowing crew were in training for the Boat Race or the Olympics?

We were seated in the Johnny Haynes Stand, which is named after the club's most famous footballer. There is also a statue of him outside the ground.

We were seated just a few rows back from the pitch with a very good view.  Bristol City brought a large and very vocal travelling support.  They chanted and sang all through the match whereas Fulham's fans were a very quiet bunch!  The weather over the past couple of days has been dry and cold, and we thought it may be a lot colder down at the riverside however the sun came out today and it turned out to be a very pleasant spring day.  Pity the full-time score wasn't so pleasant for Fulham...

It was looking very good to start with.  Fulham scored just a couple of minutes into the match and dominated the first half.  Unfortunately as the old cliche goes it really was a game of two halves and Fulham completely lost their way in the second half.  Bristol City equalised and then scored in the last minute of the match.  Yet despite our newly adopted London team losing their match, we both really enjoyed the experience and would definitely do it again if/when we return to London.

After that long walk back to the Tube station through Bishops Park (where we'd spotted a squirrel earlier!), we eventually headed back to the city centre.  There was another big event going on tonight, none other than the Melodifestivalen final.  Now I know that there are certain locations in London where you can watch the big event, but due to our other commitments today, there just wasn't the time to fit that in.  Instead I had to settle for the first hour of the contest on my tablet, with a lot of stop-start buffering and I managed a catch-up viewing on my return home anyway.  This is probably the first time I haven't been at home for a Melodifestivalen final, but I'm not sorry, no (!)

Besides there was the small matter of our Saturday night dinner date.  We didn't go too far away and visited a small local Indian restaurant which provided some tasty food and a very relaxed atmosphere. After dinner, it was pub crawl time again.  Well, if you could call two pubs a "crawl".  Firstly to a surprisingly empty Metropolitan Bar (Wetherspoons) where I checked the Melfest result on my tablet.

We later ended up back in The Globe on Marylebone Road (above) which had good music - bonus points to them for playing New Order's Tutti Frutti by the way! - and a good atmosphere, and the perfect way to end our Saturday night.

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