If you want to experience culture clash in the very best sense of the word, head for London. I went for the three H today on my second day in London. Thanks to my tour guide yesterday I learned about the Georg Friedrich Händel museum in Brook Street, just off New Bond Street.
Being a great fan of Baroque music although I prefer Mozart over Händel and after changing hotels this morning to a one with free and working internet access and at a room rate half as much as the previous one, I bought a daypass for the underground (GBP 6.50 as opposed to GBP 5 for a single ticket) and made my way to Piccadilly Circus. I am a bit on a nostalgia trip here because I used to live in London for 10 years in my previous life as an attorney and wanted to revisit the places where I walked along every single day.
From Piccadilly Circus my first stop was the Burlington Arcade, an art deco paradise with very English shops such as Church shoes and Penthaglion soaps, perfumes etc. The stern concierges are still there although they have removed the flower baskets which used to hang from the vaulted glass ceiling and a lot of charm is lost.
I walked down Bond Street and then turned left into Brook Street where the Händel museum is located. It’s actually the town house where the composer lived and worked from 1723 until his death in 1759. No original possessions of the master have survived but period furniture and a replica of his famous harpsichord and spinet are on display. Concerts are held nearly every Thursday, but today’s was sold out otherwise I would have attended.
Photography is not allowed in the museum but they have some period costumes which visitors can try on and have their picture taken. Needless to say, that the glamour granny had to slip into one although it was about 10 sizes too big, but even so…
Now comes the big surpise. Jimi Hendrix lived on the top floor of this building in 1968 for over 2 years. No museum part is dedicated to him but references to him and his music are placed next to the compositions of Händel, two musicians who couldn’t be more different and each a master in his genre. All under one roof, isn’t that great?
Then I walked all the way to Knightsbridge because I needed to visit an old favorite: the food hall at Harrod’s. Nothing has changed, it’s hopping and not only with tourists, many Londoners come there to eat at the fish counter or the rotisserie and I happily joined them. Actually, I went to whole hog: I started with smoked salmon and a bit of caviar at the fish counter and then moved to the rotisserie for fabulous lamb chops with green beans and scalloped potatoes. And they say the English know nothing about cuisine!
Tomorrow I absolutely have to go to Baker Street and visit the Sherlock Holmes House and walk in Green Park. Stay tuned.