Back from London, which is huge. I was visiting Erik, a friend from high school (and middle school, and grade school…) who’s going to the London School of Economics for a year. That’s cool. As such, he’s living in pretty much the absolute middle of London. A few minutes walk from Covent Garden (which is pretty cool), Leicester Square (which is not really, unless you’re going to a show), and Piccadilly Circus (which is not at all). Between Holborn and Tottenham Court Road stops on the Tube. It’s the best location!
However, it also costs a ton, because living in London is straight up “double everything.” One pound is more than two dollars, and most things cost the same in pounds as in dollars. Worse than Switzerland even (I think).
Whatever. Totally worth visiting anyway. I’d already seen all the tourist things (Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Changing of the Guard, even the London Eye) on previous visits, so I didn’t have to do them again, which was great for my energy (because seeing those things all day really saps you somehow), Erik’s enthusiasm (I bet he’s been to them all multiple times), and my wallet (they all cost like ten pounds. That’s like $20 to see a church! Who does that?! Except the Changing of the Guard, which is free, but also lame). So instead, we went to the Tate, some cool restaurants and pubs, neat parks, and a bunch of markets. And it was fantastic!
Interlude: if I ever wrote a travel guide it would look like this:
Dan’s Travel Guide
1. don’t worry
2. know someone who lives there
(and if you have a lot of money that’s nice too)
London has great markets. Maybe even The Best. Here is a guide of things to see, if you find yourself in London:
1. Seven Dials. Go to Covent Garden and go North, and you’ll come across this hub-and-spokes shaped area, with the coolest stores and restaurants! Like Neal’s Yard, the Monmouth Coffee Co., Magma Books, or some of the theatres.
2. Camden Town Market- they sell a lot of things. Go here if you want to decorate your house or buy clothes, and if you want your house and clothes to be really cool. Also you might run into a bunch of mohawks.
3. Borough Market- The Place to go if you’re a snobby foodie. Actually, you don’t have to be snobby, just rich. If I had money, I would never get tired of shopping at this place. It’s a testament to London that this is only #3.
4. St. James Park- it’s so pretty, especially the views across the little lake. The squirrels are (maybe too) friendly.
5. The Tate (Modern)- cool modern art museum. Expanded my horizons a little bit. I couldn’t tell you much of what I saw, except that Magritte is still a baller (they only have one painting by him I think), Brancusi is a neat sculptor, and some guy made a video of New York from cameras inside an oil drum that he rolled down the road.
6. Covent Garden- touristy? sure. But also a good place to see some street performers.
7. Portobello Road Market- this is neat too, but more antiques and stuff. Cool food stands though. If you’re looking for something to do, you could do worse.
8. Cabinet War Rooms- also pretty neat. Where Churchill and co. directed the WWII efforts from. Still, though, left me wondering if it was worth the 9 pounds (aka $20)
And if you’ve got a hankerin' to see Westminster Abbey or the Tower, fine, go for it. Make sure to go to some English pubs too though. They’re not even fakey replicas- they’re still actual English pubs! Very nice!
Pictures coming soon!
very interesting, dan! i like your travel guide and “you could do worse”. hehe. glad you had fun. -Cheryl
Glad you liked our fair city! I sure as hell am ready to stop spending twice as much as everything is worth on everything, but I guess if it’s just for a weekend the novelty hadn’t worn off yet ;)
Anyway, it was good meeting you, I will be blog-stalking you now.
PS Enjoy Maastricht - go smoke on the boats!
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