When I booked a one-way ticket to Europe, I thought I would write and write and write. And, while I have written, it is not, as expected, a slew of blog posts that I’m putting on paper. Instead, it is the book that I have talked about writing for years that is suddenly pouring out of me. In the meantime, this blog is getting a bit dusty.
The fact is, fiction is easier for me than the real stuff right now. So, instead of staring at an empty page, I’m going to skip the beginning of this story and the reason that I am here in Europe. That will come later.
For now…I’ll write about the joy of connecting with one of my best friends in one of the greatest cities in the world: London.
Sleuthing out the Locals
Any good day of touring should start with a solid English breakfast, and Mel and I found our bangers and mash (substitute bangers with sautéed mushrooms for us!) at Speedy’s, which prides itself on being the café of Sherlock Holmes, since it is located beneath the fictional flat of the detective in the television series “Sherlock”.
Then we set out for the “real deal” and snapped a picture or two in front of 221B Baker Street in honor of Sherlock. Though the address is as fictional as the detective, the museum looks authentic enough and the gift shop is worth a stop.
A quick ride on the Underground & Goodbye Tourist Crowds
Mel and I skipped the museum tour in favor of finding where the locals wander.
We hopped on the Tube at Baker Street and hopped off at Warwick Avenue. A friend had told me to check out Little Venice for a change of pace, and this was a solid piece of advice.
The walkway along Regent’s Canal winds alongside houseboats whose residents feed the ducks and the swans, swap books, set up colorful shrines, and barter for household goods, all while the city buzzes somewhere in the distance.
With Regent’s Park spreading out somewhere to our left, we stuck to the canal, ducking beneath the branches of willowy trees and waving as the occasional gondola went by.
We wandered along the mossy waterways and under the colorful, graffiti-filled overpasses until we could hear the bustle of Camden Lock Market in the distance.
One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city is to find the local market, so London, with its dozens of marketplaces, is a city I could wander for months (and still not see them all!) Camden Town is the jewel of the crown, though, with six separate and distinct markets in a condensed space around Camden Lock.
We strolled past the piles of pasta, vats of tacos, and tempting sangria stands, through the Horse Tunnel Market with its back-to-back stands stocked full of jewelry and scarves, and into the Stables Market, where we capped off our day with live music and a much-deserved adult beverage.
I came to Europe for many reasons, one of them being to spend some time alone. That being said, when I get the chance to catch up with a friend from home while traveling, it reminds me of just how special good friendships really are.