Friday, June 21, 2019

OWL'S FLOWER WORLD TOUR: There and Back Again

What do two nerds do with a week abroad? Speakeasies and meat, apparently.

Both Ginger and Kara are fully home from their trip to the UK earlier this month (framed by Kara spending some time up at Ginger's place). If you followed along on our Instagram, you got to see a few of our adventures in real-time, and will likely get to see a few more as we shake our smartphones out.

But for a very quick run-down of some of the highlights of our trip, read on!

Manga at the British Museum

It was extremely fortuitous that the largest exhibition of manga ever outside Japan just happened to be in town at the same time we were. It costs extra to get in if you're not a British Museum member, but it was absolutely worth it!

If you'd like at look at what's on display, check out Kara's feature over on Crunchyroll.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

When trying to decide where to go for dinner on our second night in London, our friend JJ turned this place up in a Google search. It's a detective-themed speakeasy that takes walk-ins (which we were), but it seems you get more bang for your buck experience-wise if you call in advance. Even without reservations, it was a wild experience.

If you go for a walk-in "appointment," you're buzzed downstairs and asked why you need a detective, so be sure to have a story prepared. Once you've been judged, the host opens a bookcase and leads you into a vintage restaurant. The food selection is pretty basic, especially if you're a visiting American: fries, wings, and (very large) hot dogs. But not only are they tasty, they come at a discount with a drink. Go through the agency's dossier for a vintage mix, or be like Kara and order a Jane Doe (with all the ingredients blacked out). If you prefer no alcohol, there are three "Prohibition" drinks that are just as good as anything else on the menu.

Soho's Secret Tea Room

Kara was insistent on afternoon tea, and Ginger was happy to oblige not once, but twice. (More on that later.) This little spot is just above the Coach & Horses in Soho, and is an affordable option for a full afternoon tea. There's a great menu of teas available, and a nice selection of snacks on the stacks.

The down side is, we're not sure if this place will be available to visit much longer (if at all). We were told by the hostess that the Coach & Horses is under new management effective very soon, and they're not big on the whole "pub landlord" model and are looking to give it an overhaul. This would effectively cancel out the tea room, which is run by the landlord's sister. There was a link to a petition on a chalk board downstairs, so hopefully there will be enough of an outcry for it to remain.

Full disclosure: Ginger suggested going here because the LOADING Bar (albeit a different location) is a regular hangout for the hosts of Outside Xbox, one of our favorite YouTube channels. Even without the association, though, it's a nice place. There are video games and board games ready for the playing, along with an extensive list of game-themed drinks.

If you're looking for a chill place to go with friends, afternoon seems to be the best time; we were some of the only people there. It looks like the kind of place that livens up at night, so head out after hours if you're looking to meet fellow nerds.

Forbidden Planet

If you're in the UK and you're a nerd, you can't not go to at least one Forbidden Planet. We actually hit up three: the megastore in London, then smaller ones in Glasgow and Cardiff. The former is especially great if you're looking for a wide selection of books and CDs, because the downstairs is stocked. Both of us, and our friends, walked away with a few new finds.

The smaller shops are nice, too, and may have some less readily available goodies than the megastore. We also found one of Kara's anthologies on the shelves at the Glasgow one, so automatic thumbs up!

The Meat Bar

When a friend asks which of three places you'd like to go for dinner and Ginger immediately makes up a song about one of them, you have your answer.

The Meat Bar does exactly what it says on the tin. Lots of nice cuts of meat, lots of burgers, and even meat-infused drinks (or more standard libations if that's a bit much). It also has bite-sized haggis bonbons, in case you want to say you tried it but aren't quite ready to commit.

The Lighthouse

Formerly the Glasgow Herald Building, the Lighthouse is home to both temporary and permanent art and architecture exhibits. Glasgow is very proud of its architecture and of local boy Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Art Nouveau figure who made lots of art, architecture, furniture, and a font that is Absolutely Everywhere).

Several of the temporary exhibits seemed to be invitation-only, but the two main highlights — the Mackintosh exhibit and the observation deck at the top of the Lighthouse's tower — are enough on their own to make the trip worthwhile. The former shows you just how much Mackintosh did in his lifetime and how influential he was. The latter offers you a gorgeous view of the city.

Willow Tea Rooms

Ginger wanted to do afternoon tea again... and as you can imagine, she had to just drag Kara kicking and screaming to do so.

There are two Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow, modeled after the Cranston tea rooms designed by... yep, ya boy Mackintosh. You get to sit in reproduction Mackintosh chairs and enjoy a fancy afternoon tea with your choice of drink and cake, plus a very nice selection of sandwiches (including egg salad, smoked salmon, and a few other rotating choices). Several of the teas are available in the gift shop if you find you really like one. As a bonus? It is much less expensive than other places, with the same amount of goodness and hot water for tea refills.

Cardiff Castle

As one of the major filming locations for Heaven Sent, there was no way we weren't going here.

You can pay for a guided tour with access to a few other rooms, but walking yourself around gives you a good amount to see. Braving the steep steps to the top of the main castle turret gives you an amazing view (and also puts you in the highest tower of the Doctor's own murder castle). The nearby mansion has more locations from both Heaven Sent and Journey to the Center of the TARDIS, in addition to just being over the top and absolutely gorgeous. And there's a war museum downstairs of the main entrance building.

Now that we're home, it's back to work... once our jet lag is leveled out, anyway. Keep an eye on this space for new announcements in the near future!


Post a Comment