It was refreshing to visit London again. After a long time in Edinburgh, although a fairly international city with lots of stuff to do, it certainly does not have the catch all megalopolis-ness to it that London has. Wandering the neighborhoods and streets of London is incredibly entertaining and never lets you down. There is always something interesting around the next corner. A guy on a unicycle taking a straight jacket off, a catch-all open air food market, a free museum, an fine Victorian building, an underground station full of rushed black jacketed business people next scattered amongst a few homeless people and a guy playing a guitar.
I stayed at my friend Elsa's place, from the Bradley days. It was great seeing her and we laughed a lot about some of the really silly friends from a few years back. Saturday and Sunday was mostly spend meandering and checking out museums. Coincidentally, the worst snow storm in years hit London that Saturday, so we dim-wittedly but purposefully ventured out into the blizzard with a few destinations in sight. I don't usually advocate umbrellas in snow, but this was once case where it was legitimized. We couldn't even see the top of St. Paul's Cathedral when we walked by!
Of course, all that snow, and sub freezing temperatures, caused havoc on all modes of transportation in an unprepared Britain. All flights were cancelled Sunday. Rail travel was halted for the most part. It was all over the news, and people were stranded overnight at train stations and airports for multiple days. I felt pretty bad for a friend of one of Elsa's roommates. He was moving back to the states for good, but his flight was cancelled Sunday, and so the earliest they could get him out was the following Friday. So, since he had left his apartment for good, he slept on the couch at their place for 5 nights. I'm pretty lucky in that I scheduled my flight for Wednesday, as flight schedules started to normalize. Many people were much more frustrated than I at the airport.
So I admit that the sub-par weather dampened my enthusiasm for walking around and seeing everything I could. Monday I got to have a drink with an old friend from Chicago which was great. Tuesday, I spent the day walking around London with Berenice, who was I knew from the fire program in Edinburgh. She was on her way back to France for winter break and was stopping in for a few days in London.
I also fell in love with one of the market's there, Borough market, and ended up going there 3 times! Many a pot of boiling deliciousness, mulled wines, fresh cheeses, meats, produce, and general gastronomic goodness. Lunch there one day consisted of a Malaysian curry. The next day, a German Bratwurst. A third, I snagged samples from many a sample giver, mostly cheeses. All food coma inducing comidas. On the last day I even picked up all my fresh goods at Borough market for a dinner I cooked for Elsa, Berenice, stranded Lawrence, and the other 2 roomates. Roasted butternut squash with a fettuccine in a tomato/cream sauce with red onions. Complemented with a fine French wine picked by Berenice. Yum.
Many a museum were visited and possibly some knowledge was gained. Tate Modern. Tate. British Museum. British Library. National Gallery. Now that I think about it, I think I only made it to one museum in Edinburgh in over 3 months. Bah Humbug.
A thoroughly enjoyable time in London.
Snowage in London:
Borough Market mushrooms:
Skaldjur: (Swedish for seafood)
Ben the Big:
Berenice with mister Horse Guard:
Unicycle Straight Jacket man: