"I'm going full English"

Trip Start May 19, 2010
Trip End Aug 03, 2010

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Where I stayed
Marija and Chris's sweet pad

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, June 10, 2010

London. As a sheer centre of wealth and culture it has only a few peers. It's so well known that we may as well dispense with most of the detailed, flowing descriptions. While Randall called London home in the not too distant past it was Leah's first visit. We stayed at Randall's sister Marija's apartment in the charming suburb of West Hampstead. Leah took an immediate shine to the brown brick and leafy gardens, as well as the odd tabby she found marauding the neighborhood. It was also a pleasant change to be staying with family in a home with a kitchen and couches. Quite the perfect spot to base our travels about the place.

Our wanders were based mainly on Randall revisiting all his old favourite spots scattered about the city. Markets and museums being the bulk of our destinations. Camden markets were most amusing to poke about in, although Randall lamented the decided drop off in the number of punks loitering about the Camden bridge. From here it was a tube ride into the heart of town. All the usual sights were seen, with our batteries recharged by some luke warm ales at the Sherlock Holmes pub. London was doing what London does, filled with all manner of people hurriedly going about their day against the backdrop and grand buildings and winding alleys.

For us the highlight was the abundant museums peppered about the city. The Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert, the Science Museum, and the oldest and grandest of them all (on the planet by our reckoning), the British Museum. It's a staggering place, truly unrivaled, one day was never going to be enough. Yet we did our best, taking in three audio directed tours which guided us through to the highlights of display, most of which were "collected" during the days of the once mighty British empire. The museum itself surely being one of the empires greatest relics.

In the lead up to London Randall talked up a greasy spoon (cheap cafe/diner type place) as standing atop the dizzying heights of English style cooked breakfasts. Obviously intrigued Leah mentioned that she doubted it would surpass a local she enjoyed often in Vancouver, and so began the first round of the "Greasy Spoon Off"(GSO). Sadly it took only a few moments once in Randall's old breakfast haunt to realise that it was now run by new Polish owners, people without the proud history of an artery clogging start to the day. This was evidenced in our meals, which most certainly lacked that je ne sais quoi of the food served up by the previous owners. Instead we were left with rather pedestrian meals and a strong chance for Vancouver to take the winning prize in the 2010 GSO.

While Marija and Chris had been away at a long waited festival for the first half of our time in town we still managed to spend some quality time catching up and hearing about their new start in London. Both have landed most comfortably on their feet. Whilst the time was short when we said our goodbyes we knew we'd be seeing them when they visited home very early in the new year. And off we went back to Continental Europe.
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