Not that we ever needed an excuse to go back to London. On 1st May this year we had a long weekend free so decided why not pay a visit to the motherland, for me anyway. I was looking forward to catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and shopping as well as being in a country where I didn’t have to think about the language I was speaking, not so for David.
We stayed at the reasonably new The Hoxton Holborn. A very trendy, hip hotel that has quickly made itself a part of the London scene thanks to its excellent location and Shoreditch counterpart. This is no budget hotel but the location and vibe was well worth it for a quick 3 night visit.
I have to admit we are not fans of traditional German food so we were also looking forward to some good ol’ English food. First stop on Friday morning, Borough Markets, a foodies delight. After a scrumptious brunch, where David tried for the first time the British “delicacy” of scotch eggs, we wandered around the market having to stop ourselves from buying something from every stall. We couldn’t resist the exquisite mushroom and truffle paté, home-made granola, some yummy sheep’s cheese and of course some gluten-free bread, for David, to go with it – breakfast for the next two days. We even found some delicious gluten-free brownies and cupcakes, I went for the much more fat inducing desserts.
On Friday night we made a short trip to Soho to go and see the show Stomp!. We had booked at the last minute and only had the choice of the more expensive tickets, albeit excellent seats. However, I think David summed up the quality of the show when he leaned over to me after 5 minutes and said, “the tickets are already paid for”. We cannot recommend this show enough to anyone who hasn’t already seen it. It is innovative, creative and energetic throughout the show.
After the show we headed to an Indian restaurant called Moti Mahal in Covent Garden, based on the recommendation of a local guide booklet in our hotel room. It is not your standard Indian restaurant in terms of food or decor. We would describe it as fusion-Indian and the restaurant itself was a little less kitschy and a little more swanky than your average curry place. The food was fantastic and the service impeccable. The perfect ending to a great night.
Saturday saw us head to Somerset House to check out the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition, a photo competition for both professionals and amateurs. There were certainly some inspiring pieces of work and we obtained a lot of ideas for our own photography in terms of subject matter and technique. We would highly recommend a visit if the exhibition comes to a city near you.
Next stop was catching up with some great friends that we haven’t seen in a quite a while. They live in London and recommended meeting at a restaurant called Burgers and Lobster. A simple concept, you pay £20 and have the choice of ordering a burger, a lobster sandwich or half a lobster. Naturally we all went for the lobster. We were all quite impressed with the size of the lobster, certainly the best value for money of the three options. Apparently this type of restaurant is the latest craze to pop up around London, minimalist menu but done well. We actually also encountered it later that evening at our hotel when we visited one of their restaurants called The Chicken Shop. Yep, you guessed it, you could only get barbecued chicken with a selection of side dishes. Again, limited menu but done well.
That very same day after lunch we listened to a local tip and went to the roof of the One New Change shopping center (St. Paul’s underground station, Central line ) to admire the architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral from a different angle. A perfect look out spot to observe the hectic life of the big metropolis from a distance.
After lunch we visited one of my favourite markets in London, Spitalfields Market. Those who know me, know how much I love to shop. I always enjoy visiting Spitalfields because there are a lot of original designers there trying to get a start in the competitive London scene. The clothes are normally reasonably priced, especially for London. I should mention that there are a variety of wares sold there, including jewellery, bags, artwork and food. In fact, I still order tea online from a seller that I first encountered at Spitalfields a number of years ago.
The rain on Sunday morning didn’t deter us from visiting one last market before we left. We ended up at Convent Garden Market where there is not only some good shopping, though a little more upmarket, but it is also well-known for its talented street performers. An entertaining morning to say the least.
I am always sad to leave London as there is so much to see and do. I also feel at home there, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was born there even though we moved to Australia when I was young. Every time I visit I want to move to London but then have a reality check in terms of the cost of living, and have to accept that I have to be happy with the occasional visit if I want to maintain a lifestyle of travelling the world, at least for the moment :).
Since we only took carry-on luggage, and regrettably flew with a budget airline, we did not have room in our bags to pack our cameras. However, this did not stop us from taking photos. Most of the pictures in the photo gallery for this trip were taken with an Apple iPhone 6. As you will see the camera in this smart phone creates pretty good quality photos. Expect to see more about them in a photo Pick of the Week very soon.
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Click here for more pictures of our weekend in London
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