Would you just look at that sky?
Late on Friday afternoon, my Mum and I caught the train into town with the intention of paying a visit to the South Bank Christmas market. I was fully expecting it to be dark by the time we got there, and that the South Bank would be lit up entirely by the glow from the carousel and market stands. But, by some wonderful stroke of luck, we managed to make it into town, through the crowds at Waterloo, and out to the river just as the sun was setting. It wasn’t the kind of fiery sunset you see in summertime- instead, this sunset was duskier, more muted and delicate. All soft shades of lilac and lavender and palest peach.
Once we’d got our fill of photographing the sky (which to be honest, didn’t happen until after the sun had set completely and the sky faded to dark blue), we turned our backs on the river and started exploring the Christmas market stands. The market is a beautiful one, and since it’s set right along the South Bank of the river, feels surprisingly spacious and not too claustrophobia-inducing! There are stands selling just about every festive treat you could imagine, and more besides. Though I’d had my eye on the ‘hot doughnuts and chocolate sauce!’ stand since the moment we set foot in the market, since I was with my Mum and she taught me the ‘you can have pudding after you’ve eaten your main course’ rule well as a tot, we went search of something more substantial to eat ahead of doughnuts ;)
I don’t even have a photo of what we found, because it was so delicious I demolished it quicker than you can say ‘ho ho ho’. Dinner that night came in the form of a smoked Polish sausage, topped with sweet mustard, pickles (the BEST pickles!) and a crunchy cabbage slaw, all served in a toasted and perfectly chewy bread roll. I can’t remember the name of the stall we bought them from, but if you want to go buy your own (and I definitely recommend you do) then the stall was right near the Rekorderlig cider chalet.
^^ The whole place is lit up with string lights, as well as all fairy lights on the Christmas trees that are dotted around. ^^
After we’d finished our ‘main’, a couple of hot toddies that couldn’t have been more welcome for my full-of-cold Ma, and had a stroll up and down the river to get our appetites back, we went in search of those doughnuts. And oh MAN, they were worth the wait. Hot, crisp on the outside and fluffy within, with just the right amount of sugar coating and a hot chocolate dipping sauce to die for- absolute heaven.
God bless my new friend at the doughnut stand, who gave us four doughnuts for the price of three and in doing so, definitely placed himself right at the top of Santa’s ‘nice’ list ;)
Post-doughnuts, we decided to go and get the fix of culture that I’d intended to have the previous week, and walked over to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Alright, I’lll be honest. I was 90 percent interested in the art, and 10 percent interested in finding somewhere with great central heating to get warmed up. (Maybe it was closer to 60-40…)
There’s an exhibition of Peder Balke’s work on at the National right now which was by far my favourite thing we saw there, all stormy sea scapes and moonlit waves and craggy shorelines. Mum is most fond of the Expressionist pieces…but I’d take Realism over Expressionism any day of the week! Once we’d had our fix of both warmth and culture, we wandered back through Trafalgar Square and past the Corinthia and over the river, back to Waterloo. We made it onto the next train out of the station with only two minutes to spare, which is always my favourite way of rounding off a trip into town. Well, that and have a spare doughnut left to eat on the journey home…