Today we went across town to South Kensington, to visit the V&A Museum. But this wasn’t your typical ‘wander around for a bit then go to the cafe’ visit. We were headed there to see a cruise ship exhibition: ‘Ocean Liners: Speed and Style’. The display did focus a lot on the ‘style’ side of things – there were endless chairs from the ‘Normandie’, art panels from the ‘Queen Mary’, they even had a piece of the Titanic in there. However the name dropping wasn’t limited to the ornaments, our fellow visitors could be heard discussing their own previous cruises.
To be honest I was a little underwhelmed by the exhibition. I think generally things on a cruise ship is only a little bit interesting while they are on a cruise ship. It is hard to know what to say about furniture salvaged from boats heading for the scrap yard. The beige armchairs we saw are hardly beacons of design brilliance. Or maybe I’m just not as obsessed with cruise ships as I thought.
There was a cool collection of old ship related advertising at the beginning of the exhibition.
I wished they delved more into that side of things. According to one of the display panels, roundtrip cruise holidays began as an offshoot for shipping companies whose main line of business was transporting people emigrating. I personally would have loved to have learnt more about how these early trips developed into the ice rink skating, rock wall climbing events we have today. (Okay, still obsessed).
Char and I didn’t linger at the V&A. We couldn’t once we had caught a glimpse of the sunny day beyond the museum’s beveled window panels. Before we knew it, we were lured out the door and hightailing it up the road to Knightsbridge.
Along the way we spotted the cutest little cafe called L’Eto, so we decided to stop there for lunch. Painted paper butterflies adorning the walls, pink flowers in vases, an open cabinet display involving more combinations of mushroom and edamame beans than you ever thought possible. “This is SO London” I thought (turns out it’s also so Dubai and Qatar because L’Eto is a chain – isn’t that always the way).
I ordered the ‘savoury French toast’ which turned out to be a thick piece of bread with ham and a poached egg, covered with truffle oil spliced cheese.
Completely different to what I had expected but delicious! Char went with the ‘ham croissant’, which looked exactly as you would expect – she loved it. It wasn’t too pricey either, considering the locale.
Since we were just a few minutes walk from Harrods we decided to have a look there before we went back.
Char and I tried to look like serious shoppers, putting our handbags over our arms and staring intently at pairs of sunglasses. Of course we were pegged immediately for the tourists that we are, given a little store guide and pointed in the direction of the food hall.
And then, after such a nice day in Knightsbridge, it was on the tube and back to Stratford for us.