Subject: Long weekend in London
Hello everybody,

I have just spent a long weekend in London.I hadn´t planned to return there this year after last Easter, but when I received the Sadler´s Wells newsletter saying that Adam Cooper was going to be starring in "Singin´ in the rain", I thought, why not?

I booked the tickets at the beginning of July. You can do it on their website, and you will pick them up at their box office on the performance day. Very easy and safe. About the flights, I had thought about Easyjet, one of the no-frills airlines flying from Bilbao, but I checked also British Airways and Iberia, and I got a decent price on Iberia, so I opted for them. Right now, normal airlines are also offering good prices in intra-European flights. Well worth looking into them. The hotel was booked using They have sometimes big savings in luxury hotels. I checked into their small boutique hotels, and I got a good price at the Queensgate in South Kensington, near the V&A ( ).

As I was arriving at Heathrow, I opted for the Picadilly line to Gloucester Road. If you don´t have a lot of luggage, it is an easy stop, with two flights stairs and lifts to the ground floor. I picked up a 7 day travelcard (for Zone 1 you don´t need a photocard) at the tube station, and I dropped my bags at the hotel.

Apart from the already booked musical, I opted for queuing at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square. They sell best-price seats at half-price. I got tickets for Michael Frayn´s "Democracy" (highly interesting story on the Brandt- Guillaume affaire) and Shakespeare´s "Twelfth Night" ( move Ilyria to modern India, plenty of colour and rain, better than I had expected after reading the reviews. Feste was specially good ...).

"Singin´in the rain" was great, but I would really prefer to see Adam Cooper in more serious roles. It always seemed that it was a bit too easy for him, and we could only catch glimpses of his possibilities at the "Broadway melodies" part. When we saw that he was wearing ballet slippers ... that was :)

Eating out : most of the museums in London have pretty decent eateries. I´d just like to mention the National Gallery and the Tate Modern restaurant. And after the show we dropped into a tiny place in Long Acre, "Le deuxieme", pretty good with long wine list and strong emphasis in fish dishes.

I managed to squeeze a couple of exhibitions : The Hopper one at the Tate Modern on its last day and the "Russian Landscape in the age of Tolstoi" one at the National Gallery. We managed to jump the long queue at the Hopper exhibition because my friends were Tate Members (plus guest). If not, we were heading towards a long, long wait. Both exhibitions were extremely interesting, specially if you were using their audioguides. The russian audioguide was really well done, with russian music from the time of the painters accompanying the comments.

And I managed to add a day trip to Canterbury. Easily done from London Victoria. On the way there I had to change trains shortly before Canterbury, but it wasn´t a big problem. There are trains almost every half an hour, and a cheap return ticket costed only 17 pounds. Canterbury was a nice change from London, lots of places to visit (I liked specially the Eastbridge Hospital and Greyfriars, not so much the Roman Museum, I thought it was too cheesy), a few bookshops :), and fine weather. And of course, the cathedral and being able to stand at the place where Thomas Becket was murdered ...

Regards, Covadonga Bilbao - Spain