England Trip 2018, Part 2
We started our first full day in England with breakfast at the hotel restaurant. The meal was a common European affair of cold cuts, cheese, toast, smoked fish, yogurt, and a few other tasty things. The restaurant also offered cooked food but we skipped those due to our limited time before James was arriving to take us to the train station. As we finished our meal, I asked the waiter about the hotel bar, which specializes in gin, and what time it opened. He joked that he could open it right then if I wanted something. I took him up on the offer and asked for something "breakfasty" with gin in it. As soon as I heard the words escape my mouth, I realized how silly it sounded. But he immediately had an answer for me.
A few minutes later he brought out a golden drink: cider with two shots of gin in it. It was an odd flavor. Not unpleasant and easy to drink, but the cider and gin clashed just a touch more than I care for.
James picked us up in front of the hotel and we drove to his new shop in Tewkesbury, about 20 minutes up the road. He and his business partner Lenny had been running Aston Installations as a mobile company until just a few weeks ago when they signed a lease on a brick and mortar storefront.
James put us on the train and a couple hours later we arrived at Paddington Station. We left the station and walked east to the A5 (Edgware Rd) and then followed it south toward Hyde Park. Edgware Road is lined with Middle East shops and restaurants, and the air can be thick with the sticky-sweet scent of shisha when people are smoking houka at the tables outside many of the restaurants and bars. Once at Marble Arch, we continued south further on Park Lane to a small Aston Martin dealership.
Stratstone Aston Martin, Park Lane, London
I feel like I need to stop saying how small the Aston Martin world is, but then something happens to remind me that it really is that small.
Dover Street Aston Martin
We had high hopes for finding Aston Martin souvenirs at their shop on Dover Street. Alas, we did not. We were able to get another of the Vantage notebooks, and for 10% less than we'd paid at Stratstone (a whopping two quid difference), but there was a complete lack of women's clothes. Oddly, there was a decent selection of clothing for children.
The Dover Street location is a new storefront run by Works that will showcase special cars offered for sale, as well as souvenirs. Maybe I expected a souvenir shop more akin to a Ferrari merchandise store, which set me up for disappointment. (Not quite to that extent, though. Ferrari is just silly with their merchandise.) Oh well.
You might find a thing or two if you’re looking for souvenirs. But the store is intended to be a sales outlet for Works - it’s a central London showroom for classic Aston Martins.
We carried on along Dover Street, popping in and out of a few shops until we got to Oxford Street.
We returned to London again on Saturday, this time accompanied by James, his wife Anita, and their son Henry.
Tourists in London