"When a man is tired of London..."
My guess is you know the rest of this famous Samuel Johnson quote (and if not, it is at the end of this post), and my second guess is that if you have spent any time in this one-of-a-kind city you resinate with Johnson's statement, at least a little.
For me I had been to London two times prior to this trip. Once for a week to visit family, and the other for 4 months when I studied abroad in a quaint little flat in South Kensington. Johnson's words have resided more and more with me each visit.
This time I had come for two weeks to visit my friend Grace who was interning with an incredible non profit, Kahaila.
I could not be more thrilled to be back on some of my favorite streets. I would be lying if I said I had a huge list of new places to visit. To be honest, all I cared to do was to revisit my old stomping grounds and to sit in some of my most beloved coffee shops.
To me, there is something so peaceful and comforting about the familiar and tradition; it feels so good to trace back over the past again and again. But as my dear friend Shauna Niquest has reminded me recently, the present and the foreign are just as good.
So this trip for me was a little combination of the two. For two weeks I traced over my old steps, but I also stepped out into new streets, became mesmerized by different architecture, and discovered a whole new side of London. This city is alive, growing, and changing. Though some neighborhoods are prestige and historic, others are emerging and filled to the brim with creativity. The people in this city live in the midst of past, present, and future colliding every day and it is a thrilling place to be.
London for me, became once again a place to remember not only who I am, where I had come from, and where I was going, but also to remember the importance of all three states: past, present and future. The thinkers who reside in each state, the architecture which emerges in each era, the situations faced by each generation; a grand reminder that we can all learn from one another and make something pretty dang great when we stop, listen and collaborate.
As an almost university grad, it was the perfect place to take an extended spring break. The best place to spend hours walking along the river, sitting and dreaming with my dear friend, and catching up with extended family. The most whimsical cityscape to remember to dream big and to fully send it, whatever 'it' is. And most importantly of all, it was the perfect place to just be present and fully aware of the current.
Below are a few pictures I took there. Most were taken with my phone, as I made a promise to myself to just snap constantly... I wasn't so good about it when London was my home for 4 months; so in this case, as in all cases, redemption rocks! Also below is a list of some of my favorite spots from this trip.
My top picks from this trip:
The Sky Garden -- go before 10 AM, beat the queue
Victoria Park -- the Pavilion Cafe is so cute, one of my favorite park cafes in the city
Farm Girl -- located in Notting Hill, still fancy, still instagrammable
Hackney -- just in general, the area is full of upcoming creatives
Broadway Market -- amazing ethnic street food and thrift finds
Kensington Gardens -- always a classic favorite
Negozio Classica -- located in Notting Hill, great place to wind down with a glass of wine and pasta. Fantastic charcuterie board.
Udderlicious -- always need a good ice cream place
Columbia Flower Market -- overwhelmingly beautiful
Nelly Duff -- great selection of art prints, gallery is on the same road as the flower market
Morito -- located on Hackney Road, perfect afternoon stop for tapas
magCulture -- great selection of international magazines
Labour and Wait -- this shop carries a great selection of well crafted products, a must stop
Barber and Parlour -- the design and concept is rugged and beautiful
London Cocktail Club -- no words, just go & experience it
Liberia Bookshop -- small, cozy, modern. Located next to Blitz
Oriole Bar -- Located beneath the Smithfield Market. Sister bar to Nightjar. Live jazz. An eclectic selection of drinks and snacks; try the Lambanog Mule. Make reservations
St. Katharine's Docks -- great place to escape the city life for a few hours
World Food Market -- the docks have an international food market every Friday and Saturday afternoon. Trust me, the vendors are hard to choose from!
White Mulberries -- quaint little cafe by the docks
City Hall/The Queen's Walk -- take an afternoon stroll around this area during golden hour, so beautiful