So dear readers…I”M BACK! I’ve always been here behind the scenes and thinking of you but May was an insane blur of uni work, full time work and lack of sleep. Now, I’m most thrilled to have come up for air in Europe for 6 glorious weeks which was always the shining light when I really just didn’t know how I was going to get everything done…so sit back, relax and keep some room in the stomach as I eat for the both of us through London, Morocco, France, Portugal, Spain and Singapore!
After endless uni assignments, final exams and a mad dash to the airport, I finally arrived back in my old ‘hood’…London after an 11 year absence in the first week of June. I’d been waiting to come back for a such a long time to a city which will always be dear to my heart. You could say that I cut my teeth in London – it was where I lived out of home for the first time, experienced the best and worst of high density flat-sharing and realised just how little four quid an hour went! Yet somehow I always had money for a pint, the odd trip to Europe and made the best friends I’d ever had. Good times.
And at its very best, London turned on a swathe of brilliant sunshine for my entire visit. There’s really nothing like an English summer especially when the sun shines until 10pm, the pints of cider flow and great friends are gathered around. Oh I miss it…..Stepping back onto The Tube was a little surreal – just like coming ‘home’ – everything was the same yet London was even better than I remembered. Perhaps because this time,I got to experience a whole new side of London that I had never had the pleasure of before – care of my amazing and much missed expat Melbourne friends Paul & Emma.
They live in the suburb of Crouch End (which you may recognise from the movie “Shaun Of The Dead”) a beautiful leafy corner of London that really feels like a little village. Having spent my of time during the backpacking years in Shepherds Bush, Acton and Camden pub/club circuit, I wish I had known about Crouch End which is like a green paradise in the heart of the city. Being from Melbourne, they of course knew where to find a killer expresso (from the boys at Coffee Circus) – one big notable difference from when I was here last when there was no cafe culture to speak of.
One of the loveliest things about Crouch End is the Parkland Walk which is a reclaimed rail corridor that stretches for 7km all up. The small section in Crouch End traverses an old tube stop where you feel like you’ve just stumbled into the lost forest.
There’s also The Queens Pub – a stunning example of an ornate English pub with beautiful stained glass windows, polished wooden floors and comfy seats. Perfect for a pint after walking the Parkland Walk
A bit later my local tour guides took me down to the canals in The Regents Park after wizzing past the giraffes at London Zoo..
And a drive over the Tower Bridge 🙂
The following day, Em and I headed down to The Borough Market – somewhere else I’d never visited last time around and a long time before I developed my love of good food. It was a hot sunny morning and the market reached fever pitch with tourists and local buyers alike well before lunch time. In the open air section adjacent to the seated area you can buy freshly baked breads still warm from the oven…
Sample traditional English beef and pork pies for your lunch…
And sweet baked goods…. (gluten and dairy free also available) for a little dessert…
Under the covered section inside you can find the super busy seafood section laden with cockles, oysters, lobster and cod fish…
and the odd colourful character or two….
Along with fresh produce…
If that’s not enough, you can stuff your face at any number of vendors selling paella, curry and fried fish and chip butties. Suffice to say, I rolled out of the market and then some….
Next Stop ..Hampstead Heath, Brick Lane & Afternoon Tea at Orange Pekoe
Borough Market Full Market Wed – Sat 8/10- 5/6pm & Lunch Mon- Tues – 10 – 5pm – Southwark St London
Coffee Circus Mon – Sun 8 – 7pm 136 Crouch Hill, London
The Queens Pub Mon- Sun 12- 9pm 26 Broadway Parade, London
Crouch End – Nearest Tube stop Finsbury Park then get the W3 bus to Crouch End (every 15 – 30 minutes during peak)