Monday, July 14, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 21

Ham House, Cycling With Moliere

We took the train to Richmond this morning. A delightful village, suburb to London.  Once again, it felt great to get outside of the city. We took the loveliest walk along the Thames and through the countryside to Ham House (not sure where it gets its name, but definitely not from breakfast meats.)

It's the most perfectly-preserved 17th century (Stuart) house in all of Europe. It was built in 1610, added to around 1670, and has remained virtually unchanged ever since. I loved this one because it was a step down in opulence from most of the palaces we've visited. This gives the impression that you could actually live there. It's homey.

The garden, too was manageable. An herb garden, a vegetable garden, huge crops of wildflowers growing against aged brick walls. Totally my kind of place.

The most manicured area was a pristine checkerboard lavender garden.

We also spent some time just lounging on the lush lawns in back.

We had lunch in their cafe, The Orangery. Often disappointed by cafeteria food, we made the understandable mistake or picking up simple sandwiches, cheapest things on the menu. But their cafeteria offerings were positively gourmet: Carrot and Coriander soup, Garden Vegetable Quiche, Chicken Tarragon and Lemon Stew, etc. All for under 7 pounds, and beautifully presented. Next time, people, next time.

After a quick dinner in the flat, we walked to the Institut Francais' Cinema Lumiere and saw a beautiful French film, Cycling With Moliere. The story, in a nutshell: Two grumpy old men with big egos try to launch a play together, and lots of people get hurt in the process. But the French do everything so beautifully, I could only describe it as delicious.

1 comment:

Kazzy said...

Love that lavender garden!