New cities put you through new challenges; but they also present you with newer opportunities. Options that are closed to you in your own country suddenly open up. I am not saying that you have to relocate to a new continent to avail of certain life changing opportunities but maybe it’s simpler because:
- You’ve relocated once. It indicates that you are open to travel
- As you’ve left your place of origin and you are amidst people who you barely know and in a setting you are not accustomed to, you strive harder to prove yourself or to create a niche
I wonder which of it is true. Or none of it is, for all you know. Maybe, we just got lucky and I am glad about it! While in Nairobi, my husband got an opportunity to work out of his main office headquartered in London! For a whole month! Without blinking an eyelid, we jumped at the opportunity. It was easier for me then as I was consulting with a couple of organizations. All I had to do was inform the agencies that I will not be available for a month.
The next few days were exciting. There was so much to do:
- Think, talk and browse about ‘things-to-do’ in London
- Pack our bags
- Apply for visa
- Keep our fingers crossed!
And as Forrest Gump would put it, ‘and just like that, we were in London…’
My routine in the city was pretty much the same everyday. I packed my backpack with sandwiches or a packet of fruits, my camera and a bottle of water. The plan was to have no plan and to live every day to the fullest! Each morning I spread the map open and found some new areas that I could explore.
There is so much that I can write about my travels in London – from walking over 11 kms a day to taking a DLR (over ground metro) from one end to the other just to get an aerial view of the city; from eating at street markets to having wine atop Shard; from museum walks to eating desserts all afternoon! No amount of words can do justice to time that I spent there. In this post, I am going to list the food places that we visited and the ones that were drool-worthy. London has some of the best sweet shops and street food markets…Some of these might be commercial and known, nonetheless I still enjoyed them all:
First things first, DESSERTS!!!!! (slurppp)
- Hotel Chocolat – the yummiest chocolate shop in town! I couldn’t get enough of it…the carrot chocolates are to die for…
- Laudre – expensive, high end patisserie near Convent garden. But the Macarons are worth the price…
- Magnum – a pop up shop that opens only in summers at Covent garden. Do get the ‘Magnum experience’ there (absolutely delicious customized Magnum ice creams)
- Hummingbird café – Close to South Kensington station, this cute little café serves delectable red velvet cupcakes
- Wafflemeister – a chain of shops that sell mouth watering, warm waffles!
Quite a few street food markets open up in London during summers. You will find world cuisine here. The food tents, beer/wine tents, music and benches in a corner to park yourself for however long you want have a holiday vibe!
Some street food markets worthy of a visit –my personal favorites:
- Camden town food market – Located in the center of the Camden lock market, this market serves the yummiest Lobster Mac and Cheese and Turkish rolls
- Southbank food market – situated in the tourist buzzing area of Central London, this food market offers a vast spread of food. It is lively because of its opportune location as well as live performances. We happily shook a leg with a bunch of dancers here
A few more places that one can visit while in London are:
- Coffee shops by Thames near London Bridge – feels great to sit by the river and enjoy a warm cup of coffee
- Pubs around central London – I remember this one small, quaint pub that we chanced upon in the by lanes of Soho on a Sunday evening. A group of local artists who enjoy playing music band to play music on Sunday evenings
- The Japanese chain, Wagamama – the Katsu Curry will blow your mind
- The Mexican chain, Wahaca
- Vietnamese cuisine at Saigaon at Soho – Pho on a cool or chilly evening is just the kind of food you need
- One comes across quite a few Lebanese food joints in London – restaurants around Edgeware road, Hazev restaurant at Canary Wharf
I am sure most would wonder whether I did anything other than eating in London. Well, I did…but the variety in food was a gastronomical delight! It has been over two years, but I still remember each of these places I visited because of its distinct taste (and also, my sharp memory :P). I truly feel the beauty of a city and its culture can be understood by the food that it serves. And it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that London is a melting pot of different cultures!
So here is a tip for all those who travel, wish to travel or have an opportunity to live in another country:
- Explore the nooks and corners of places that you visit – real flavor of the city is in the by lanes
- Go with the flow – at times, no plan is the best plan…Explore as much as you can
- And lastly, at the cost of sounding cliché, never shy away or hesitate to take up an opportunity. Often our pre conceived notions override our decisions. But you never know where one opportunity might lead you – Our decision to go to Nairobi, led us to London…