December 18, 2006

London day 3 - Caffe Concerto, Tate Modern, Pierino, The Bunch of Grapes

We started off this morning from our cozy little B&B and visited Caffe Concerto an Italian cafe and bakery on Brompton Road. Debbie had two cafe macchiati with a millefeuille while I had a macchiato and double espresso with an apricot danish.

Breakfast done we took the tube back to the Tate Modern to visit their two special exhibits. "Fischli & Weiss: Flowers & Questions. A Retrospective " and "David Smith: A Centennial."

The Fischli and Weiss exhibit was charming, amusing, and provocative - an excellent combination. They produce what seem to be light witty pieces, very contemporary, but pieces that prick at you at the same time.
We especially liked Suddenly this Overview, a collection of small unfired clay sculptures that illustrate various themes both profound and mundane.

Next we visited the David Smith exhibit across the hall. I had only a passing familiarity with his work before this, but after seeing it as a collection, especially having just seen the surrealist and cubist works at the Tate I think I have a much better appreciation for his work.

For dinner we arranged to meet Tanya (tnt) from The Well, at Pierino. Pierino is a neighborhood italian place in Kensington where Tanya lives. From the outside it looks like one of a hundred other generic italian places you see all over the world, but they make all of their pastas in house, and the pizza crusts are obviously hand made and baked in a hot oven.

On the way home we stopped for a hand pulled pint of real ale - Abbot's IPA in the local pub "The Bunch of Grapes." With a name like that you'd expect it to be some kind of foofy wine bar, and while you wouldn't be entirely wrong, they also did have real ale and hand pumps. Unfortunately they also had cigarette smoke, which reminded me why I don't really like pubs all that much - except for the company.

We're off to bed, and tomorrow we leave for India! We can take the underground right from our local tube stop directly to Heathrow, so we should have a relatively easy time of it. Still didn't buy a cellphone, and I hear they're somewhat painful to get in India, but calling people over VOIP has worked ok so far, so we will see.
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