London Is Like Fine Wine

I wasn’t originally going to post about London since I figured what can you really talk about when this is the 4th time in London not counting layovers. You would think you couldn’t do much more after your 4th time in a city but with a city like London, great travel friends and local U.K. friends this short 3 day weekend proved you can still discover and experience new things in a city you have visited.

My original intent for heading to London was to meet my good friend from Chicago who was planning to visit London during this time and had offered to bring me some items I needed and take things I had discovered I didn’t (such as my Norte Dame white sweater. Why I thought a white sweater was a good idea for this trip is still beyond me and I’m a bit ashamed to admit my amateur travel mistake.) I ended up meeting up with Irene in Dublin as this was her first stop on her European holiday and was there while I was in Dublin. Realistically with a little more communication I would have been able to skip London but I’m glad I didn’t as I was able to be a busy social butterfly without the pressure of having to check out tourist sights, do tours etc.

Wondering how? A little was research, a little was luck and another was going with the flow.

Research:
Since I knew this city was a repeat for me I decided to reach out to some friends in the U.K. and ask where they went when they came to visit London. I was told by Tom who I met in Budapest during this trip to check out Brick Lane’s Sunday Market and Shoreditch area as well as checking out the food markets. Definitely cool and young neighborhoods with lots of art and culture. Justin who I met in Prague last year recommended one of his favorite places, Primrosa Hill for an awesome view of the city. The beautiful weather worked in Andrew and my favor quite nicely so picking up a bottle of wine in a shop in Camden and enjoying the park, sun and view of London was a lovely way to spend our Sunday afternoon.

Luck:
In Dublin I was lucky to have met a group of people who would also be in London while I was here so we decided we would hang out here as well. I met up with Polina in Brick Lane and we checked out a lot of the street art, went to a bagel shop her friend from London had taken her days before so you know it was good and even checked out a gallery which included video interviews of Andy Warhol. I had the opportunity to also party at the well known house club, Ministry of Sound with Esteban and his brother. Experiencing the behemoth that is this club and seeing its culture first hand was great. (Advice: Visit here if you are comfortable seeing skin and homosexual PDA.) Andrew who I met in my hostel here and I discovered a gluten free street festival hidden in the middle of a street in Camden. Discovering how many options of food could be found that were gluten free was surpassing but not as much as actually tasting how yummy it could also taste.

Going with the flow:
When you aren’t pressured to go and be anywhere in particular you find yourself willing to join people to do things they want to do. My good friend Irene from home wanted to do teatime at Fortnum and Mason while she was here and I had never done teatime in London. This was such a lovely experience and doing a real life teatime in London of all places brings the fancy out of anyone. Don’t believe me? Ask Irene. A group of us in the hostel did the Camden Pub Crawl and while it wasn’t the best pub crawl, Camden is still known as one of the top neighborhoods to party at. With plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants it’s no surprise even locals come here. (Advice: Maybe don’t necessarily do a pub crawl here but definitely check out the vibes and pick a few spots that fit your party style.) Lastly, Andrew was planning on visiting St. Dustan in the East. This church was largely destroyed by the London fire and World War Two and the ruins are now a public garden. He also wanted to visit Kings Cross. Since I had the time and hadn’t been to either I joined him and it was cool to add these other interests points to places I’ve checked out even if I was bamboozled with Kings Cross when I discovered we were going to the Harry Potter shop and have no knowledge on the series. Still cool to see people geeked in a train station.

After 3 days here I still have money in my Oyster card for the tube so I guess I have no choice but to return. Till next time mate!

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