Wandering down to London

wandering around London 3

a guard at Buckingham Palace

One of the nice things about living in Edinburgh is how easy it is to get to London from here. The train takes just over four hours, departing from the middle of Edinburgh and depositing you at King’s Cross. There are plenty of flights, as well, but once you deal with getting yourself to and from airports, it’s taken you just as long door-to-door (and you’ve had to surrender your liquids). Continue reading

London notes: food

With the exception of, well, pretty much anyplace in Italy, London is my favorite food city in Europe. Long gone are the days of tittering about the blandness of English cuisine; London restaurants are creative, varied, and plentiful. Here are some of the notable eateries from my last visit. Continue reading

London notes (with porn)

the Olympics countdown clock in Trafalgar Square

I was all set to settle in to my summer travel hiatus when an invitation arrived for an interesting-sounding press event in London. I did a quick check of ticket prices (totally affordable, thanks to EasyJet), sent out a couple emails to see if friends would be in town (they would!), and decided to go. I think I’d jump on almost any excuse to go to London these days. I have a huge crush on this city. Continue reading

Manchester notes

Manchester street

Last week was all about visiting cities which are delightfully grittier than Munich. Not that it’s hard for a place to show more grit than our home city (which could be mistaken for the setting of many fairy tales), but last week’s destinations were particularly satisfying in their lack of polish. Cheers to the Travel Bloggers Unite conference for giving us an excuse to visit Manchester for the first time. Continue reading

Upcoming blogger meet-ups in Europe: TBU and WEBMU

As a misanthropic introvert, I wouldn’t expect to be big on meet-ups, but I’ve definitely learned to love them over the course of my blogging career. A lot of fascinating people write expat and travel blogs. No matter the size of your blog or its audience; meet-ups like this tend to be very welcoming, and a lot of fun. Continue reading

London keeps calling

Let’s see, where was I? From Italy I’ll skip ahead a few months to March, when I went back to London for another week of BritFun. This was the trip where a charming old chap tried to pick up my friend Em and I. Naturally, there are other trip highlights to report, too, so let me get on that.

The timing of this trip was designed to coincide with a David Sedaris* reading. Did you know he recently moved to London? Not that I’m stalking him or anything. It was fun to finally learn what Hugh looks like, though. Dapper.

That wasn’t even our only trip to the theater district; we also took in a (very affordable) matinee showing of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starring James Earl Jones. Oh, that voice. TKTS won’t tell you this, but some theaters release some half-price tickets at the box office shortly before a performance.

We visited a couple of London’s amazing museums, including the National Portrait Gallery (which I love so much I want to marry it – Judi Dench and the Tudors all under one roof); the Tate Britain (where we intended to see a special exhibit involving elephant dung but we got lost in the joys of the permanent collection instead – especially the John Singer Sargent and Francis Bacon rooms); and the Victoria & Albert (for a small but interesting exhibit on high-tech art). We also did plenty of gallery hopping. London oozes art.

And of course we ate some delicious things, including giant thalis at Masala Zone and sushi at about a dozen places. Alas, my note-taking was a little lax when it came to all the great restaurants and pubs. There was also tea at Sketch, whose waitresses were decidedly unfriendly but I am going to go back soon anyway because 1) they have a staircase covered in blood and 2) I didn’t get to use the pod toilets yet. Plus I am hoping their macaroni and cheese is good.

Besides all that, we took some wonderful walks. Em has a deck of cards, each one featuring a different fun walk through London, and they came in quite handy for coaxing us into new, different neighborhoods. One walk was through the hipster and sex shop district; another was through the judicial area, where the barristers buy their wigs. Alas, we didn’t see anyone wearing one. There’s a goal for my next trip.

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* If you are unfamiliar with David Sedaris, go get yourself one of his books right now. Preferably an audiobook. Me Talk Pretty One Day is a good one to start with. You will pee your pants.

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