Today started as almost all of our sundays in London do, the Columbia Road Flower Market. And it was fabulous, as it always is. But after that we didn't know what to do, because the weather was unbelievably wonderful. Notice that last sentence? People in London don't know what to do when the weather is nice... After some deliberation, we opted to explore Hyde Park. Then we discovered these rad bikes that you can rent. The rest is history. Wobbly cycling and all. We had a blast on this very beautiful Sunday in London.
We didn't have high hopes for today. Southern England is half under water and there was a wind storm last night that threatened to smash our windows out (at least thats what it sounded like). But the weather seemed to improve by morning and so we stuck to our original plan to go see the The Garden Museum on the south bank of the Thames River. The highlight of the museum was definitely the exhibit by Rebecca Louise Law where she hung flowers from the ceiling in the main hall. Here is a few of our favourite images from the day.
Since we've been in London, one of our favourite things to do is go to markets and there are so many that by the time we leave we won't even make a dent on the market scene.
There are several reasons why we like markets so much:
1. Markets have awesome food. We've yet to go to a market in London that has bad food. They don't exist. And the food is cheap, which leads to our second reason...
2. Markets don't cost any money to visit. At least until you buy tons of stuff.
3. Pretty much every borough has it's own market, so we're always finding new places and discovering new things on our way to and from the markets. Don't be afraid to go off the main roads. Go down side streets and try new routes. It's the best way to discover a city.
Josh's classmates at school told him that the Camden Markets are particularly exciting. So we headed there on a Saturday to find out. The core of the market is an old horse stable. You can literally get lost for hours wandering the tunnels and little ally's. This market is a bit cheesy when it comes to the vendors, lots of cheap gimmicks for tourists and after a while the stalls start to blend and look the same... BUT there are gems to be found. The food alone is worth a visit.
The London borough of Islington stole my heart. Islington is what I picture when I think of England. The buildings are smaller and older, built in the classic victorian architecture. It's so close to the city centre but has a great small town vibe. It has lots of independent shops and cafe's while Camden Passage is a treasure trove of vintage and antique boutiques. A must visit for sure.
Here we are again. The Columbia Road Flower Market has become a tradition. Be it in sun, wind or rain, nothing can hold me back. Every Sunday our house is graced with fresh new flowers. I don't see a better way to welcome the week ahead. So here are some pictures from week two at the market.
I've heard a lot about London's famous sunday farmers markets, but this is the one I've been looking forward to the most. Open every Sunday from 8-2pm, the rule of thumb is the earlier you come the better the pick of flowers you get. Jet leg is still kicking our butts, and the only thing that got me out of bed was the buckets of Ranunculus calling my name. It was a little bit of a trek to East London but at 9am on a Sunday, London is a ghost town.
The market had an abundance of potted plants along with fresh cut flowers. Tulips, daffodils, ranunculus, anemones, hyacynth, hydrangeas, eucalyptus, those are just the few I knew the names of. I wouldn't exactly say the flowers were cheap but nothing here in London is cheap. It's a realization we've been forced to face very quickly. Most spring flowers were 3 bunches for £10, or £4/bunch.
After realizing that we didn't have a vase (and trying to find the cheapest one we could), we began the search for our flowers. I had my mind set on ranunculus and anemones, but there were so many beautiful flowers, Josh literally had to pull me out of the market with my few bunches in hand or I would've been buying vendors out of their stock.
These are some of the pictures from our flower market adventure.
Today we woke up to this kind of a day (see below). Literally could not be more opposite than yesterday.
Blue sky. Sun. and very little wind.
So we began the day thinking we would go to the Tower of London. and we did go the Tower of London, but then we didn't. It cost £21. Each. Forget it. We're poor. It was too sunny to spend the whole day in one dumb fort. So we took pictures of the outside and then proceeded to see as many of the outsides (because the outside doesn't cost money) of epic London buildings as we could. We saw Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, Westminister Palace, St. Pauls Cathedral and the London Eye.
Probably the highlight for me (Josh) was Fabrique. A swedish bakery that served us up a cinnamon bun and pain au chocolate respectively, alongside some tasty swedish coffee roasted by JOHAN & NYSTRÖM. It was worth the haul out to the hood of East London. If anyone would come and visit us, we could buy one of their loaves of bread that cost £10 (about $17.50 CAD) and are the size of a small child. epic.
Today was the first day of 2014 for us in London. We technically arrived yesterday, which is why I didn't say it was 'our first day in london'. But truth be told, our first day in London was pretty pathetic. We arrived at our apartment at 11am, walked to a greasy diner on our street, ate some food, came home for a 2hr nap which turned into a 5.5hr nap. Then wandered around the city with all the partying, drunk, londoners who are a bit grumpy when sauced.
Today was much better. We were feeling slightly less jet-lagged and so we met up with our friends Sean and Amie and we headed out to see the city a bit more. We started the day with a proper English breakfast (which in my opinion is not 'proper' at all, beans in tomato sauce, sausage, bacon, a fried egg, fried mushrooms, fried tomato and toast... it was rather un-proper for ones arteries), then we began to walk, an adventure that took up probably a third of our day. We walked and walked and walked and got lost and braved sideways rain and gusts of wind that made me wonder if London has a hurricane season. All our walking did have a purpose, we were headed to one of London's many free museums, the Natural History Museum. It was worth the two hour walk and the 45min wait in the rain to get in.
The architecture was marvellous. The taxidermy was incredible. The Skeletons were magnificent. And it was warm. And dry. We had a very happy time. These are some pictures from our day. Enjoy them.