We didn't have plans until later in the evening, so with a pretty free-form day ahead, we woke later (okay, later than we expected), with plans to get English breakfast somewhere around the Smithfield meat market off the Farringdon tube station (my Underworld fan status dictates that this must be one of my favorite stations, along with Baker Street, which is not in any Underworld songs but is just plain cool). But there wasn't nearly as much breakfast to be found around there as we'd expected, so we ended up getting lunch food at a pub (super-fresh bacon and avocado sandwich for me). The bartender seemed amazed that I wanted my cafe Americano sans milk and sugar. Heh.
After eating, we headed to the Covent Garden market for some shopping. I bought a few things at Lush but decided it would be better to wait and truck it out to the one in Georgetown rather than hauling home a bunch of stuff. I did, however, go pretty nuts at the Transport Museum shop.
It was already super-Christmassy there, with lots of people out, kids singing on a stage, etc. We had mulled wine, which was perfect for the chilly afternoon.
After Covent Garden, we headed to Harrods, which I found impossibly huge. I did a lot of gawking as we went throughout the store. We were in there for quite awhile and I'm sure only saw a fraction of the things there.
We had a fairly early dinner at Belgo, a Belgian restaurant in the sprawling basement of a building (putting things in basements seems common in London, and I think it's awesome). There were lots of exposed metal pipes, and the waiters were all dressed as monks. I had a half chicken, which I have to say I enjoyed more than the Portugese chicken. Score one for the Belgians.
From Belgo, we walked to Bookmarks, a socialist bookstore (Eileen is right, they should have called it Bookmarx) in the area. Not that any of us are really huge socialist supporters, but Billy Bragg was speaking there, and Eileen wanted to check it out (head to her blog for a photo).
We headed back to the hotel to change and drop off our purchases after Bookmark(x)s, because we had tickets to a benefit at mega-club Fabric. Fatboy Slim headlined and the dance floor was jam packed for his set. We spent the hour doing a combination of dancing, trying to stay on our feet, and trying not to get crushed. Which sounds like it would not have been fun, but it was!
Then we went to another room to see Damon Albarn's set. It was a little drawn-out and big beat for me, but there was more room to dance, so that was a plus. Here we could see the space a little better too — Fabric is in what looks like unused industrial space. It felt like we were deep underground, and there was a lot of brick, archways, etc.
Eventually we headed to the third room, which was a housier sound and much more my style. And even more room to dance!
We took a black cab home to cap off our enormously fun night. It was a real highlight of our time in London.