Covid 19 didn’t allow our annual trip to London, so it was about time to return. A long weekend to visit the places of the heart, eat in our favorite restaurants and wander through the streets with the most famous colored doors in the world, once again.
As soon as we landed we found everything as we had left it: the grey sky, the fresh air even in summer, the tireless hustle and bustle of the city and those culinary melting-pot aromas that inebriate the streets. Left our luggage in our small hotel, located between Spitalfield and Shoreditch, we start the usual tour-de-force – walking over 75km on foot in just 4 days.
There was no lack of classic tourist destinations such as the Tower Bridge, the inevitable walk along the Shad Thames (one of our favorite places) and a walk among the skyscrapers that overlook at it. We rediscover the smell of food from around the world amidst the crowded and flowery stalls of the Borough Market – but we sit at the tables of Patty & Bun for a terrific veggie burger.
We continue to observe the artworks at Tate Modern, take a photo of my favorite church – St. Paul‘s – from the Millenium Bridge and strolling around Covent Garden as the sun finally peeks out in the afternoon and reflecting on the Big Ben. Oxford Street – decorated for the upcoming Pride – and Covent Garden will be the last stops of the day, and it is precisely here that, later, we sit down to enjoy a good ramen at Shoryu restaurant.
Day 2 | The Spitalfield district wakes up slowly in the morning, the sun shines on the shop windows that are still closed and its rays illuminate the murals scattered around the alleys. When we reach Notting Hill, however, we find the gray sky waiting for us together with the antiques markets that occupy the streets with the most famous rainbow-colored doors. We wander around the stalls and have breakfast at Fabrique Bakery, ordering Swedish rolls and coffee.
Later we cross Hyde Park to reach the sinuous rooms of the Serpetine Gallery designed by Zaha Hadid and we visit the brand new Black Chapel where we meet by chance Virginia Duran – a talented instagramer and a digital friend. The hoarding of culture is not over yet and before satisfying the body we continue to satiate our mind with the “Fashioning Masculinities” exhibition – dedicated to male and genderless fashion.
For the lunch break we stop at Comptoir Libaneuse in South Kensington where we order tagines, hummus, halloumi and various vegetables. We cross the elegant neighborhood until we reach Marylebone Village with its boutiques and cafes that enliven the life of the surroundings. Then we spill out onto the streets of Oxford Street for the latest pride festivities.
Day 3 | Sunday morning is the Columbia Road Flower Market day, an entire street crowded with locals and tourists including cafes, interior design shops, flowers and plants. I would like to buy a bunch of hydrangeas like trendy tourists do, just for the sake of taking a picture, but with the idea of having to throw them away, I desist.
Before reaching Columbia Rd., however, we find along a café with exquisite pastries in Bricklane Blank Street. Even on the day of the Lord we do not miss a little taste of contemporary art and we choose the White Chapel Gallery. Then we browse the shops in Bricklane, Shoreditch and Spitalfield, we lunch at Brother Marcus and spend the afternoon between Islington and Angel with their maze of streets, shops and canals.
Before returning to the central areas, we go back to Brixton, where Giovanni lived for a short time in 2016. It has changed a bit, but still retains that charm of its own. That evening, like two penniless and hungry teenagers, we sit behind a table at Pizza Hut – a tradition that started since our very first travel abroad together.
Day 4 | On the last day, we have breakfast at the hotel, pack our bags and set out for the last lap. We go into the city to observe the Gherkin – the glass suppository – to stroll once again at Leadenhall Market and relive the Harry Potter’s magical places and finally, to relax at the wooden benches of the church of St. Dunstan-in-the- east: deteriorated by time, rich in trees and vegetation.
We do our last cultural hoarding at the British Museum since we hadn’t returned for a long time and we wanted to get lost in the large rooms dotted with relics from all over the world. For lunch we eat in one of our beloved Pret (a-manger) – our other tradition – and then we go to the Natural History Museum to observe the giant dinosaur bones in a suggestive atmosphere of the end of the 19th century.
We would like to see and visit a lot more, but the time has come to go home. As always, London conquers us and does not disappoint us, and this time “it’s just a goodbye!” as usual.
SLEEP: London has become very expensive, a bit of luck and the right time will be essential to find the perfect hotel if you are on a “low” budget. We stayed at Point A London Liverpool Street – central, comfortable and with a good breakfast.