Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meals on Wheels Part VI: London - markets and museums

I spent my first vacation this year in London, a city I had never been to before. Did I just see your jaw drop? Everyone I mentioned to that this was going to be my first trip to London was completely shocked. They were like: 'But you have already been to the weirdest places on earth. How come you have never been to London?' To be honest, I don't really know how that happened. But now I can officially quit going to the self-help group for people- who-have-never-been-to-London-before. 
Going to London felt like having an affair. It was wild, interesting, so much more exciting than back home - well, this actually being my very first vacation this year, anywhere would have felt exciting, but you get my point. But, after a while, the excitment wears off, and you notice how exhausting an affair can be and also how nice home is because it is calmer, shares your history and you know where all your favorite spots are. So, to be honest with you from the very start: as much as I liked London, I still like Berlin a lot more. Yepp, there, I said it. And you can even quote me on that.

Two words: borough market. A good friend recommended I go there and she was soo right about the place and myself. It was a perfect start to my six days in London and I could go on and on and on about how wonderful this market is. I had an ostriche-burger which was to die for, and I might have even shed a tear or two for not being able to buy any of the fresh products to prepare a lovely dinner. Note to future self: no more hotel rooms, rented apartments instead!

After strolling across the market, I joined the line in front of monmouth. Now, take out your dictionary and look up the word long. You will there find the comparison: long, longer, the line in front of monmouth. But trust me, their coffee is worth every single minute you spent waiting. I usually don't like my coffee too strong (I am a sissy, I admit), but their coffee was wonderfully strong with out being bitter and for some reason, it felt like cotton candy in your mouth. It's difficult to describe but it's definitely one of the best coffees I have ever had. And that in a country of tea lovers!

On Sunday, I went to Brick Lane in the East End, and, knowing quite a bit about the long and changeful history of the place, I decided to have a bagel at Brick Lane Beigel Bake. Brick lane today is better known as Bangla Town, but once upon a time used to be a mainly Jewish neighborhood so I paid tribute to that part of its history. The bagel was as good as everbody had told me, I had the classic salmon and cream cheese bagel, though their salt beef bagel supposedly is their best. Technically not a market stall, I include the Bagel Bake in this category because I suppose that most people come to visit Brick Lane on Sundays when the Sunday up market is up and going. There are also a lot of food stalls at the market, but to be honest with you, some (or should I say most of them) did not even look half as inviting as those at borough market).

I went to 10 museums in 6 days. I love museums, really. At Tate Modern, I saw the pile of porcelain sun flower seeds by Ai Weiwei, which is all that is left from his presumably fabulous installation in the turbine hall there. I honestly can't believe they are all hand painted, but they definitely looked impressive.

The British Museum had a small, but very well curated exhibition on Hokusai's "The big wave" since the museum had recently acquired one print. Having seen the big Hokusai exhibition in Berlin last month, it was a nice supplement and having been to a fabulous Japanese cooking class, I just found this cartoon also displayed funny.

I'll continue next week with tips on nice (and quiet!) cafés in London, but for now I leave you with a few of my London impressions which are not food-related at all, but maybe still a feast for the eye.

1 comment:

  1. "But, after a while, the excitment wears off, and you notice how exhausting an affair can be and also how nice home is because it is calmer, shares your history and you know where all your favorite spots are."

    London does have a really fast pace and much as I love it there, I know I'll never move there. And the reason for that is twofold - I couldn't afford it even if I wanted to and I don't want to end up disliking it. I live just outside the city, which is close enough to go as often as I like and far enough away so that I can take life at a slower pace.

    But London wouldn't be London if it moved slowly. My favourite place in London, Covent Garden, wouldn't be the same if it moved slowly. The thing I like best about it is the atmosphere; it's busy and bustling and cosy. And it's friendly. Last December, I stayed in serviced apartments in Covent Garden, just for a weekend, with my mum. And we came home feeling like we'd had a week's holiday. Hot chestnuts, a lot of mulled wine and one brave soul breaking out into a solo rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas". Some of my best memories happened in Covent Garden.