New Neighborhoods, Bus Rides and Water Pipes!

One thing that David and I have been doing is exploring different neighborhoods to try to decide where we would like to live once I have had enough traveling.  So far, we really like the area that we are in – Bayswater and Notting Hill, which is close to Paddington Station.  We have asked the locals what area they think would be good to look for a rental in and one suggestion was the Fulham Broadway, which is on the district line heading south toward Wimbledon.  It was an interesting area.   There was a farmers market today on the main street and some of the housing looked nice.  However, David and both feel that we would like to be closer to the city center and Hyde Park.

After walking around this area, we took the tube to Victoria Station to walk over toward Belgravia. On the way, we went into the Westminster Cathedral, near the station.  It is the mother church of the Catholics in England and Wales and was opened in 1903.

Near the cathedral was Victoria Palace Theater.  I loved the statue of the ballerina on top of it.  I researched to see if it was in honor of anyone special.  It was erected in 1912 by the then owner, Alfred Butt, in honor of the Russian ballet star, Anna Pavlova.  She made her debut in London at this theater.  The original statue was later removed before the 1939 Blitz of World War I and disappeared.  This replica replaced it in 2006.  I love anything to do with ballet, so this caught my eye right off!

We continued walking until we got to the Belgravia neighborhood.  It is another lovely and ritzy area.  It appears to be where many of the embassies are located.  It is located southwest of Buckingham Palace.

We decided that it was time to hop the bus and go for a ride in the double decker.  We saw a bus heading for Paddington Station.  A good place for us to head, since we were familiar with the area.  It was nice to see the sights of some areas that we haven’t been and some that we had.  We got off at Paddington and decided that it was “pub time”.  We found a pub near the station and David had a Coors Light, I had a glass of Cabernet.

 Across the street from the pub was an Arabic restaurant with water pipes (hookas) near the door.  The neighborhood, where we are staying, has a large Arabic population and often you will see men seated around a water pipe enjoying it and each others company.  I watched the waiter place something from a kettle into the top of the pipe and then start the pipe for his customer. I was curious exactly what he was doing and ran across the street to ask.  A gentleman from Saudi Arabia was sitting at the pipe he had just started. I didn’t see him because he was in the corner….when I started asking questions to the waiter, I spied him.  I apologized and he explained the water pipe process….In the pipe, at the base, is the water…midway up is the flavored tobacco and on the top is where the hot charcoal is placed to heat the tobacco.  The smoke passes through the water basin before it is inhaled.

The Saudi man offered for me to try it…so, I did!  It was really smooth and mildly flavored.  Nothing like the smell or taste of cigarette tobacco.  I really found it all very fascinating!!!

David decided that he would like some noodles at the Noodle Oddle restaurant for dinner.  We ate there a couple of nights ago and he just loves noodles, so wanted another meal of them before we leave the area tomorrow.  The restaurant is located on Queensway, the shopping street in Bayswater.

Each day, as you pass by, you will see the chef preparing the hand-pulled noodles.  They are good and thick.  He even has pictures of him showing Gordon Ramsey how to make the noodles!

So, tomorrow, we are moving to a different studio apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood.  We will be able to see the Thames River from our window.  It appears to be a much nicer apartment than the small room that we are currently in.  We are both looking forward to exploring yet another area of London and excited to get out of this place!

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