We met up with our friends in Paris on May 15th but we officially started our trip in London on the 12th. We had been in London before, a couple of times, because Curt took university students there for 3-4 weeks at a time either between semesters in January or after spring semester in June. I went along twice. Curt still had a few items on his London bucket list so we figured if we are flying to Paris, well heck, London is just across the channel so we might as well start there.
What was on Curt’s list? Well everytime he went to London the Albert Memorial was being cleaned, refurbished, restored and it was completely covered by scaffolds and curtains. By chance the hotel I booked was right across from Hyde Park. Get on the middle path and just walk…Albert was at the other side. Straight shot. Technically in Kensington Gardens.
It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert who died of typhoid in 1861 at the age of 42. She really, really loved Al. It took 10 years to complete and cost 120,000 pounds (10,000,000 pounds today). This is what Albert looks like close up, like I said she really loved him. Victoria wore black mourning dress the rest of her life.Once we walked around the rest of Hyde Park it was time for dinner and it only seemed appropriate that we look for a pub and have fish n’ chips. Right around the corner from our hotel was The Swan, a nice neighborly pub where we had grabbed a sandwich on our first afternoon in London. Convenient, nice people and packed at dinnertime. All good signs. We didn’t choose wrong.
We tucked into some fish n’ chips and it was great. I am not a fish lover but this was hard to resist. Served, I might add, with English peas.But the really fun part of the night was the dessert. Curt was intrigued by the dessert board…chocolate pudding, apple pie, spotted dick and treacle sponge. He chose treacle sponge. We weren’t sure at the time what we had only that it was sweet and sponge cakey and creamy and really good.
I researched it once we were home and it is a steamed sponge cake with golden syrup cooked on top and sometimes served with hot custard. The Swan served it with hot custard. Golden syrup baffled me but I discovered it is a pale treacle. To give you perspective, molasses is a dark treacle. So there you have it, a taste of London. Too bad we weren’t there one more day so we could have tried Spotted Dick.