Abbey Road & Notting Hill

FRIDAY OCT. 7

For the last day in London, we wanted to grab the chance to go see places we hadn’t been to before. Our plan for the day: first to Abbey Road, then Notting Hill.

This is probably the most famous zebra crossing in the world. And that of course is the location where The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover was taken. Tourists would gather right at the crossing, stopping cars frequently.:

Zebra Crossing.jpg

… and actually pose crossing it, making numerous takes, cause it’s just hard to find no cars coming, then snapping the right pics at the right time in the right pose:

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The other side of the zebra crossing is the famous Abbey Road Studios where The Beatles recorded their albums:

studios

We couldn’t go into the studios, but there was a gift shop adjacent where signs were posted to chronicle the historical significance of the Abbey Road Studios. Sir Edward Elgar opened the Studios in 1931. In 1939, King George VI recorded his now famous “King’s Speech to His Peoples”.  Seventy-one years later in 2010…

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“Oscar-winning ‘The King’s Speech‘ score recorded. Actor Colin Firth’s speech is re-recorded with the microphone made by EMI for King George VI.”

Looks like we’d come to something truly historic.

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After Abbey Road, we headed to Notting Hill. I like the movie Notting Hill (1999), have seen it several times especially now it’s on Netflix, but have never been to that part of London. I’d done some Googling before I left home. Notting Hill is the actual movie location, and the famous 2-mile long Portobello Road Market there is one of the best street markets in London. And it’s open on Fridays and Saturdays only.

It was an overcast and chilly Friday morning, the clouds hung heavy, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We took the Tube from Abbey Road Studios and got off at Notting Hill Gate Station.

In the movie, Portobello Road is where William Thacker (Hugh Grant) has his Travel Book Shop. He walks past the stalls in the Market to get to his shop.

So here it is. Portobello Road, a colourful street lined with antique and curio shops, and on Fridays and Saturdays, open stalls selling all sorts of interesting items, a bazaar like a movie set.

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street-market

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Here’s William’s Travel Book Shop location, now a gift shop. In the movie, that is where William meets American film star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) the first time. William is totally oblivious to who she is, while a shoplifter recognizes her and has the gut to come right up to ask for her autograph. That’s William’s intro to movie culture. Here’s the location:

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Afterwards, William buys orange juice across the street and bumps into Anna again, spilling juice on her dress. Thus, leading her to his house with the blue door nearby to clean up.

The tipping point of the movie happens on both sides of that blue door. Apparently tipped off by William’s hairy roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans), a large crowd of paparazzi wait outside that blue door the morning after Anna stays over, ready to snap anything of the star. Unfortunately it’s William who opens the door in his T-shirt and boxer, and after, Anna in her sleep wear, and last but not least, Spike opens again in his brief only.

Well, here it is, that house with the blue door, 280 Westbourne Park Road:

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And of course, the first movie I saw after I’d come home was Notting Hill, again.

That’s a wrap of my five-day London experience, my Thelma and Louise escapade for 2016 with my cousin. Obviously, no… we didn’t drive off a cliff.

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Here’s a recap of my Five Days in London:

London: West End Theatre

Tate Modern: Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition 

Day Trip to Cambridge

British Library & St. Pancras Station

Lobster, Lobster

In pouring rain I drove north from Wayland, MA on Interstate 95 to Portland, Maine, about 120 miles. As I came close to the city, anxiously looking for exits with the car wipers at the fastest speed, I saw a sign in a distance with a digital message. I strained to check out what it was saying, could be crucial information. Soon I got close enough to read this alert: “Rain Pounding on Road” Thanks. That was helpful.

A bit later after I exited and entering Portland, I was met with another warning sign: “Flash flooding in some intersections”. Thanks again. Which ones?

After a few tense moments, we found our way to an Arabica Café, calmed down with a latté and regrouped. In this weather, no sight-seeing around town was possible, so might as well drive to our next destination, a must-see, pounding rain or not. That’s New Harbor in the eastern tip of Maine, about 70 miles from where we were. What’s the bait? Lobster of course… and, Kevin Costner.

Earlier on I came across the website epicurious (love the name), Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf in New Harbor was listed as one of their 7 favorite lobster shacks in Maine, and the tidbit that it’s one of the filming locations of the movie Message In A Bottle. So obviously, the motivation to get me driving all that 70+ miles in the rain under a dark grey sky was not just the lobster but Kevin Costner… oh, throw in Paul Newman as well.

Here’s the place at the end of a long and winding road along coastal Maine in fading daylight:

Shaw's Fish & Lobster WharfA view from the dock:

Costner New HarborInside the bar, a movie poster:

Movie PosterProduction Photosand some production photos (See Paul Newman in the middle?)

Since it was getting late, we decided to take out instead of eat there. And so we did, heading out to our rental car with two cooked live lobsters (oxymoron?), drawn butter, paper plates, and a lobster cracker kindly thrown in for us, all for $30. Not a bad deal.

Just as we congratulated ourselves on our triumphal exit with lobsters and Costner poster photo, we saw the iPhone on which we’d so depended for its GPS to be not in service. Now we had to find our way out of this remote place before darkness totally engulfed us. It’s not as easy as you might think. It felt like forever for us to find our way back to the main road and headed north for another 40 miles to our motel in Rockport. It seemed a much longer drive when you had two cooked live lobsters in the back seat.

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Another seafood restaurant I can whole-heartedly recommend is Archer’s on the Pier in Rockland, ‘the lobster capital of the world’. Just a 12-minute drive south of our motel in Rockport, Archer’s lobster is one of the best I’ve tasted for as long as I can remember. Of course a bit pricier than Costner’s place, but well worth it with all the extras, corn cob, coleslaw…

ArchersArcher's Livethe location and the view:

Archer's deck

A tasty catch

Archer's view

I haven’t seen much fall foliage yet but that’s ok. It’s been a delicious journey so far.

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