London- a Visual diary and travel tips
I still can't believe I haven't yet lived in London. I'm not one to draw all energy or inspiration from the city I live in, often removing myself far from it (hence, the off-the-grid travel) but Berlin and possibly London are beginning to make me doubt that assumption. London was inspiring. It piqued my interest, and then led me by my hand through its mysterious nooks and crannies. Only to reveal it is much more mysterious than I'd imagined. Here are some travel tips to London for when you're there next.
London- Art and Culture haven
London's many museums can be reason enough to visit the city. That almost all of London's museums do not charge a visitor fee shows the city's dedication to bringing art to its residents and visitors. Head to Victoria & Albert Museum to behold the world's most beautiful Persian carpet- the Ardabil carpet (below). At the British Museum (thanks for the twitter tip Nica @mozues), look out for ancient Kantha or paintings from Sri Lanka (similar to our collection). Or to the Treasures room in the British Library for glorious old maps, manuscripts and books (thanks for that tip, Akshatha)
British humour/ sarcasm/ cynicism
London offers that interesting mix of old and new architecture like the rest of Europe, but in its own way. It's cityscape is constantly evolving, and never uninteresting. Perch yourself along the South bank for the skyline across, get a ticket up the Millennium Eye, wander into the observation balcony at the Tate Modern or just seat yourself on a bench in its many parks. View points galore. (A walk along South bank and Tate Modern came highly recommended by the peeps at @WeSwap)
We lived in West London but found ourselves drawn to East London more than once. Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Brick Lane and the neighbourhood make for extremely interesting and eventful walks! These areas are also where you'll find the best street art. Nottingham, Portobello Road and Hyde Park, as expected, are also fun parts of town. And, Camden town!
There isn't dearth of inspiration and the inspired in London. Walk through any of the aforementioned parts of town and you'll find some of the best street art.
So let's just say Berlin leaves a lot to be desired on the food front. So the escape to London was especially appreciated. Among many glorious meals and Wagamama overdose (blame fond memories of the Wagamama in my Dubai neighbourhood), this visit to London included a traditional afternoon tea, a self-guided tour of East London's best food sports (plenty information on the Eating London website), a visit to Modern Pantry(FTW) and a three-course lunch in an old house in Richmond.
And finally, the Thames
I love rivers. I love everything about rivers. I love that they sprout out of glaciers (how cool is that?). I love how they cut through cities, stopping you in your path and putting a break in that mad pace. I love how they snake through lush jungles, giving them life. And I love how they make such a great show when they finally meet the sea. I love rivers! Find a spot on South Bank and watch the Thames gurgle along. Go stand on a bridge for a vantage point to view passing boats small and large. Plus, bridges are such engineering masterpieces, aren't they? Or find a quaint little town on the outskirts to watch the Thames meander through languorously. I picked Richmond.
More travel wisdom in our Stories from the Road section.