A Travellerspoint blog

London in Ten Pictures

We left London on Sunday after spending three days in her streets. The truth is, I find myself less and less enthralled by London the more I visit. There is something uptight and sanitary about the city which doesn't sit right with me. It's too clean, too orderly, too British. I know I'm not really being fair to her sprawling streets, long history, countless subcultures and 7.5 million people who have crammed themselves into her boundaries. I can accept that maybe the problem is less the city and more where I've been but even doing our best to stray off the beaten track we just ended up in areas where the wealth had dried up but the neighbourhoods were vacant. I told A. we could come back and keep trying but really I'd like to meet up with someone who really knows the city.

Even with these broader reservations we had a really good time. Here are the top ten highlights (in pictures)

Kew Gardens

A. loves plants, both in their fleshy lushness and in the drawings the British are so good at. We went to the Royal Botanical Gardens (aka Kew gardens) to satisfy this urge, a botanical garden close to where we were staying. This was honestly the most amazing botanical garden I have ever seen. Not being much of a plant enthusiast I was just going along for the ride but it was seriously awesome. There were multiple Victorian glasshouses. In one you climbed to the top on twisting staircases just to peer down at thriving tropical pants (pictured below). There were enclosures with lily pads that were three feet in diameter and a separate room full of brightly coloured butterflies flitting about (r.'s absolute nightmare). My favourite was the tree top walkway, interconnecting bridges looming 60 ft in the air. Here is the top of one of the glass houses:

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Chelsea Bridge

The first night we arrived we were exhausted but we walked around downtown anyway. Here is A. taking a break midway across Chelsea Bridge:

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After wandering through some industrial wasteland reminiscent of St. Louis, we accidentally found the Tideway Houseboat community and watched the sun set on the river while eating snacks and drinking wine from the gas station. Tideway is this odd jumble of boats dressed up in trees and junk intermingling with laundry and fishing poles. Peaking through the windows you find flat screen tvs and posh living. Like some weird version of Tank Girl on the Thames. This wasn't the best example but it was the only picture that turned out (if you look at the top left corner you can see the solar panels of one ultra modern houseboat):

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Kensington Gardens

A. and I wandered through the park pointing at birds we didn't know. Between pigeons and seagulls we saw the more regal heron:

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Camden Town Markets

We spent most of Saturday morning in the Camden Town Markets. Honestly, it was kind of like if Yonge Street (circa College) threw up on Kensington Market. Passing tightly cramped stalls peddling Metallica belt buckles, London magnets, and "nobody knows I'm a lesbian" t-shirts you find yourself neck deep in assorted bric a brac, over priced vintage clothes and every possible kind of "ethnic" food. As you pass through different markets, from the stalls to the stables, there is something fun in all the colours, movement and brightness:

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Alleyways

We also found some posh alleyways to wander through. A. tried to make me take a picture in a wasp's nest (she claims innocence on this one):

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Rain

To be honest, the weather was miserable. It felt kind of like late September, sort of chilly and always on the verge of raining, even when it was sunny. I was pretty lucky in Brighton (and Ireland and Scotland) with the weather but even still I had become sort of acclimatized. A. on the other hand was miserable. Escaping the oppressive humidity of Toronto she was hoping for a more manageable summer (but still a summer). Instead we had a lot of this:

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And Friends...

We missed our friends here in London and A. snapped this street sign for M.:

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Posted by broden 15:06 Archived in England Tagged living_abroad

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