Last week was packed with work and Danish classes so it’s only now that I’m able to write about our short trip to London. Let’s see:
Despite the weather forecast for last weekend, which predicted mostly rain, the sun shone and made our visit much more enjoyable. There was a minor snowfall on Saturday morning, just when we decided to go for a walk around Hampstead Heath but that only lasted about four minutes and then it was back to relatively clear and sunny skies, just the way I like it.
This time around, there was not a single spare room available at my friend’s flats so we decided to rent one through Airbnb. I was aware of the service, of course, but I had never used before so it was good to experience first hand the beauty of the “share economy.” Accommodation in London is expensive so prices were not particularly cheap but we paid probably the same we would have paid if we had decided to stay in some shitty hostel and in return we got a nice and clean room in a flat on Finsbury Park Avenue, very close to the big Sainsbury’s on Green Lanes, with both Tube and Overground stations within walking distance and quite close to where most of my friends live. Apart from the shower lacking a bit of power and the bed being a tad small for two people, I’d say our overall experience was pretty good.
On Friday night, after we dropped our bags, we met Maria Chiara and Latifa (and later, Anna) for dinner at Gokyuzu, my favourite Turkish restaurant. As always, the food was fantastic, so much so that it almost brought tears of joy to my eyes. I fucking love that place. After dinner, we went to Jam in the Jar, a small cafe/bar on Green Lanes selling cheap booze and where a random band was playing reggae tunes. It was packed when we arrived but we managed to score a table with a couple of chairs and we squeezed in there and stayed until 2am, talking nonsense and drinking beer.
The morning after, we went for breakfast at Sketch, a pretty stylish place off Regent Street, which has probably one of the best hot chocolate on the face of the Earth. I remember being there for the first time in 2012, on a “chocolate tour” organized by a girl who was looking for a new tour guide so she invited me to join her to see what it was all about. The tour started with a cup of hot chocolate at Sketch and since that day, I had been wanting to come back for more. Three years later, I finally did and was not disappointed.
After Sketch, we did a bit of shopping around Oxford Street, checked out Ross’ exhibition at The Great Frog, looked for Bob Marley’s blue plaque near Goodge Street station and then headed towards Embankment to walk along the Southbank, one of my favourite things to do in London. As always, it was crowded with tourists but the view there is always amazing and the place just brings me good memories. I used to go there quite often and just standing there, next to the Thames, surrounded by the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye and the Waterloo Bridge… it just made me feel lucky to be there, every single time.
We sat on a bench for a while, took a few pictures, and then headed back to the city to do a bit more shopping before going home for a short nap. At 8pm, we met up with my friend Ernesto, his girlfriend and another friend for dinner at a new placed that opened up in Green Lanes: it’s called Bar&Buns and it is amazing. Probably the best burgers I have had in London, very similar to the fantastic Icelandic burgers that Tommi’s provide us with here in Copenhagen. When I used to live in Green Lanes, there was nothing; now that I have moved away, there are bars and cool places popping up everywhere! Bastards.
We finished our dinner and took a bus to Dalston to meet Rebeca, Ann-Christine and other friends at The Haggerston, a hipster bar I used to go to every now and then. Now, I know most places in London are full of annoying, drunk people but that night, The Haggerston was on fire. Fucking hell, what a pain in the arse. It started ok but after half an hour, we had a couple of guys hitting on my girlfriends, approaching them with pick-up lines like “Hey, you have a nice bum” and “Hi, I just want to let you know that I’m here.” It was embarrassing.
One guy in particular wouldn’t leave us alone and kept forcing himself into our conversation, asking Kat and the rest of the girls where were they from and what were they doing in London. Kat told him they were Bulgarian triplets who were in town with a circus, working as acrobats, but he didn’t quite buy into it. He just kept annoying the shit out of us until Ann-Christine pretty much told him to fuck off. Shortly after, some random dude who was clearly out of his mind, high on God-knows-what, came to me and spend five minutes complementing my sweater. He kept shaking my hand, telling me it was much better than the turtle neck of the same colour that he owned. As if I gave a shit.
At 2:30am, we decided we had enough of the Dalston loonies so we said goodbye to our friends and took a cab home. The cabbie asked us where were we from and what we were doing in London, and when we told him we were a couple that had met through Tinder, he just couldn’t believe it. It was as if a new world of possibilities had been revealed in front of his eyes. In theory, he wouldn’t be able to do much about it unless he was willing to have an affair behind his wife’s back but still, he was fascinated by the story of two strangers falling in love after meeting each other through a mobile app. He even asked us to invite him to our wedding, go figure.
On Sunday, we met up with Oli for brunch at Princi (and when I say brunch I mean cake), and then walked to Herman ze German for currywurst. We had seen Oli in September but we really hadn’t had the chance to catch up properly so this time we made sure to meet up with a bit more time to chat. Oliver gave me a bag full of presents, including a brand new Ross Halfin t-shirt, a set of Led Zeppelin napkins from one of last year’s Led Zep re-issues listening parties, a belated Christmas card and a mint copy of Ian Hunter’s “Ian Hunter” vinyl, which Ross got for me in Los Angeles last year. Very nice of them.
We said goodbye to Oli and, ten minutes later, we said hello to Latifa, who was kind enough to meet us again for tea at Yumchaa. It was lovely to see her again, she makes me laugh so much. I really miss her, she’s witty and always fun to be around. Can’t wait to have her over sometime this year.
After Yumchaa, we took the Tube to Victoria, then a train to Gatwick and from there a plane back to Copenhagen, bringing our London weekend trip to an end. We had so much fun that we have already booked tickets to go back in Easter. We’re quite looking forward to it…