I’m definitely a Berlin aficionado. It took me a trip to London to realise that. I do love London too but it’s hard to relax. People are hunted, even in cool areas on a Sunday. We went to Spitalfields and the Old Truman Brewery. There’s the Sunday Upmarket, where local designers present their stuff. Moreover the area is a vintage Walhalla: bags, shoes, dresses … All open on Sunday (as well as Urban Outfitters!). Walhalla I say!!! I live in such a retarded country sometimes …Why can’t we have vintage heaven, open on Sunday afternoon?
We didn’t have time to take a proper look because we ran late. At noon, we had decided to throw 18 pounds down the drain in the Tower where we had to queue up for almost an hour, so that took us much longer than expected. I should go to London again on a Sunday only to shop there.
[No pix here because my camera ran out of battery]
The people at the Old Truman Brewery reminded me of the people in Berlin. Berlin people are far more relaxed though, and more fashionable, creative … Maybe this was my main disappointment. I sort of had expected the whole of London would be fashionable. Blame Vogue, Glamour and Glam*it for that. But as my boyfriend pointed out correctly: “Darling they remain British. What did you expect?” Little Britain did get its inspiration from somewhere. Or has London lost it? I visited it 14 years ago and in my memory it was much cooler. Or perhaps we should have gone to Camden after all 🙂
That Sunday was a very lovely day. I also met up with Nick, Pam and Ben in a really cool Belgian beer bar in Hoxton called Music Hall. Pretty cool place where they served Duvel on draught. The bartender informed us that Duvel only sells it abroad. Apparently the ‘normal’ Duvel doesn’t sell well because it’s too strong. English wussies 😉 We had a lovely afternoon and were chatting about Iceland and Iceland Airwaves (we’re all staying in the same neighbourhood this year, as well as friends of Nick and Pam), music in general, differences between the British and the Belgians (mainly foodwise), football (we all love Arsenal), pubs closing early … And we learned about the difference between French fries (the thin things you get in Belgium’s frituren and at MacDonalds) and chips (the thick fried potato things you get in Britain) and which you have to dip in gravy.
The other days were really nice as well. We went to Covent Garden on Saturday, during our first day. It was busy, but lovely. Then we took a walk to the Houses of Parliament. We stopped at the National Gallery where we enjoyed Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Monet, Van Eyck (Arnolfini was a smaller than we’d expected) … We walked to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. We didn’t visit any church in London. Ten pounds or more for a visit is a too much, thank you, come again.
Monday was a culinary day. We started off at Carluccio’s in Kensington. The boyfriend tried eggs Benedictine because he has seen people make it at Masterchef HQ. He loved it. We walked to the Hummingbird Bakery, the sole goal of my trip *credits to my sister who texted me the address *. I bought a plain vanilla, a chocolate fondant and a red velvet cupcake and my god I loved them all. Then we visited Brompton Oratory next to the V & A. Nick Cave wrote a song about it so it was an alternative pilgrimage. The church is baroque so that’s something we quite like. We then visited Harrod’s (tea) and Harvey Nichols. We ate some lovely sushi and loved watching people eating there as well. Especially the two Asian guys who laughed their butts off with what they found on the little plates. It seemed that it wasn’t something they were used to at home judging the way they were dissecting their food.
We also did some parks. Hyde Park with a silent Speaker’s Corner, Green Park, St-James Park … The Cabinet War Rooms next to St-James are commendable because you get a good explanation about what Churchill and his staff were up to during the War. Before we left, we visited the British Library, which was my favourite. Jane Austen’s handwriting, Brontë sisters, Virginia Woolf! Literary me was over the moon.
As usually I regretted to go home, but did I learn a few things during this trip:
– Always take two pairs of shoes. When feet get swollen, comfortable shoes can start to hurts and cause bruises under your toe nails
– The underground at Russel Square offers an alternative to escalators (no escalators at all), so next time we take a hotel in that neighbourhood again.
– Carnaby street isn’t cool anymore (except for The Marshmellow Mount at Kingly Court)
– Caffe Nero serves a decent Chai Latte
– It wasn’t a drunk man who painted these lines, they have a meaning!