I have wanted to go to England (specifically London) for a long, long time. Ever since I was a kid it has lived large in my mind. As I pranced around in my mother’s high heels as a little girl (with a towel on my head pretending I had long gorgeous hair) I imagined it to be an exotic kingdom where fancy flight attendants served tea in mod cups wearing adorable and important looking outfits, and who asked you if they could get you anything else in sophisticated accents.
The idea of England as ‘myth’ goes on. It gave birth to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Joy Division Adele, Dusty Springfield, Jane Austen, Oscar Wild, Notting Hill, Colin Firth, Downton Abbey, and cute neighbourhoods where every body seems funny and calls each other Love.”LOVE” think about it. Causal conversations even with strangers invoke the word “love”. “How are you love? Can I help you love?” I could go on and on and on. So who knows why I never went. I have romanticized the lives of a few friends and my niece who picked up and went there to live. I have woken up in the middle of the night wondering why am I NOT in LONDON? WHY?
So this year we went to London. We arrived at Heathrow Airport. HEATHROW. I was in my promised land.I had heard that word so often. There I was getting a train to PADDINGTON STATION.Then there we were on the TUBE. We counted the kilometres we walked each day. 12 day one, 18 day two, bleeding feet but 13 next day…and so on.It’s a city that doesn’t stop and neither could we.
And the best part, chips every day for every meal. Chips 3 times a day.
My favourite food of all times is the magical French Fry. My first day in London I quickly discovered that it is easily possible to eat chips, or crisps with every meal. Easily. Would you like chips with your omelette? Yes please. With your curry? Yes, please. WIth your pizza? Umm Yeessss. Chips chips chips. All of them excellent.
Second favourite thing: PUBS They’re just so easy aren’t they? Easy, cosy, and the centre of community life iin many ways. We ate two nights in a row at Sir Alexander Fleming and it felt like walking into my uncle’s living room.
Third favourite thing: Accents and the word used oh so liberally “Love”. “Can I help you love?” Oh my. It’s just so warm and beautiful. No more need be said.
Tube Stops. – some Tube stops look like time standing still, they’re that pretty and pastoral.
Kings Cross station and public art- as a Canadian I feel like I am starved for public art. Not so in London and almost all of Europe for that matter. These people like art and they have it everywhere. Here are some great examples just from the station alone.
Pianos in train stations. I saw this in France and at Kings Cross. What a fantastic idea. They are there at the disposal of the ‘artists amongst us’. And artists there are. Talented people play them all the time. And it is lovely. So lovely. More to come on this.
Markets – must go back to go to markets alone. In particular the vintage clothing market at Spital Market.
Victoria and Albert Museum. Amazing clothing collection and FREE.
Street art tour: this was almost the highlight for me in which I will share more in the next post but wow. What a great way to see the not so obvious things in a city (in this case East London) and also be exposed to some amazing art. More to come in next post.
Downton Abbey: yes, I’m one of them. I desperately want to go on the tour but our stay on this trip was too short which is just a great excuse to come back and see more.
Thank you London! You are everything I thought you would be and more. I will be back.