So I went to England for my weekend to stay with a good friend who lives in West Kensington. Another stamp on my passport. I was excited because I had never been outside of France before so England is the second European country I’ve seen.
We drove to London, taking the Ferry across the channel. The ferry offers a REALLY great service in the fact that they let you pay at the cafe, restos and shops in Euros and then give you pounds as change. This allows you some ease in exchanging money. The Ferry is very fun and has lots of walking room on the decks. The coffee is great and a real relief after the little joke espresso of France. Traveling with probably the best band ever is certainly a perk of my lifestyle but if you are traveling alone the european is the way to go. If you plan ahead you can get a great deal on a ticket. Pack a meal, snacks, drinks. There is a grocery store right outside of the eurostar terminal inside the station but the selection is minimal and uninteresting so you are better to bring something from outside of the station. Be sure to check out the seats when you are booking your tickets. I thought I bought a window seat and where there was supposed to be a window was a big metal separator. also take into account which way the train will be moving (the site may or may not tell you) 1/2 of the seats are backwards. The train is extremely relaxing and takes about three hours (your ticket says two but there is a time change). I got all my homework done and allowed for a good hour of zone out time.
London is like a living war museum. The effects of the bombing of London are everywhere. You will see a whole row of Victorian style buildings, beautiful and lightly painted and then right in the middle will be an ugly, modern, squared off, brick apartment. This isn’t because one day the owner opted to remodel, this idicates that there was a bomb dropped here. It was an extreamly moving to see that scares still fall on all the national monuments from the shrapnell.
I see why people joke about going to London on the weekends to shop. The shopping is AMAZING. Because the pound is down it is the ideal place for an American to pick up the latest fashions. For example hair color that in france is 12 euros… 5 pounds. Particularly at a place called Primart. It is a mass-produce store but has some great clothes for inexpensive prices. I came out of there with a fortune of things that I had been needing but couldn’t bear to pay Paris prices. Now I grind my teeth know how much I have to pay for everyday things here in Paris but now I have some AMAZING dresses!
Neat things about London:
– I had always sat at red lights looking at the signal thinking “why does it warn you when it is turning red but not when it is going to turn green.” Then i would push it from my mind and think “well that is just silly” HA not so in England! Before the light turns green the yellow light flashes three times. This is so people can shift up and be able to accelerate on green. WOW that makes too much sence doesn’t it? It would never go over in the states.
-Cupcakes are ALL the rage. There are full stores dedicated to the little cakes and people are going gaga for them!
I would like to disprove a certain myth, English food. It is known by other Europeans as ancient a bit barbaric and tasteless. Whereas I have found that England has better food than France. Filling, delightful and varied English food has something for everyone. You can’t find good foreign food in Paris which is funny because you really can’t find French food in Paris. For my first real meal in England Maggie brought me to a restaurant called Giraffe.
A chain but an English chain none the less. Giraffe is a Putumayo restaurant so th music is awesome there and the menu is GREAT. As Maggie said you can bring 100 people there and everyone can find something that they like. I chose the Hamburger. I know bad American huh? but you don’t understand! In France you can’t find a good burger they aren’t seasoned, everything in France you have to ADD seasoning to. They don’t season meat before they cook it, that is why they put sauce on everything. but this Burger OH. Cooked just right with caramelized onions, bacon, fresh letus (hard to find green in Paris), white English cheddar, dill pickles, amazing tomatoes. On the side, perfectly cooked potato wedges (called skin on fries) that had just the right crisp and season on them they were like the Albertson’s wedges when they’ve just come out of the fry. A great meal and most importantly GREAT service. Also I found something there that I never find ANYWHERE. You know when you go to a restaurant and you order something that comes with a “cajun” cook, blackened, seasoned, or anything that uses the word Cajun as an adjective? Usually that dish is AWFUL unless you are eating at DI’s or Ruby’s or something. Well at Giraffe they have a “cajun” seasoning that is WONDERFUL. So thumbs up to them I’m very impressed.
I had a great time in London and was really proud to see my great friend Sarah Savoy play on the stage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It was an amazing show and she did GREAT. What an honor for her and well deserved! The dance after was rocking and they only line danced once. NICE. Defiantly won’t forget this trip anytime soon.