So it seems like London and I cannot be apart for more than one year. Thus, I had to take the Beard with me to that rainy, humid piece of earth which is London in winter season. Actually, Christmas season.
We left for a classic Friday-to-Sunday formula, which in my opinion is not the best option if you need to persuade a biased beardy man that London has plenty of stuff to rock his socks off.
Get the Beard to enjoy London was kind of a mission to me: he loves open landscapes, good food and getting into the traditions and customs of every place we visit. if visiting London for the first time, starting from his same point of view, well… you’d better avail of some good old sense of flexibility.
In fact, London is not very keen on typical food, nor on open air green landscapes. London is not the place to learn British traditions, or at least, you will not find proper British food or folks at every corner.
This city is a melt of hundreds of cultures coming from all over the world, twisting together, understanding each other… most times.
I love London because every time I visit it I get to better understand its deep multiethnicity. I can be deeply overwhelmed with British proud visiting the British Library or the British museum, feel joyful in front of a pint of dark stout, enjoy wandering in the east end, of course ending up at the Natural History Museum which is hosted in one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen.
On the other side, I dare you not to get charmed by the sweet smell of spices of Edgware Road, where you can taste the best Lebanese and Iranian cuisine in town. Speaking of ethnic food, you don’t want to miss a visit to the China Town to try the most amazing duck you ever tasted. Moving to closer to the very heart of the city, Covent Garden hosts a great Thai restaurant, where noodles are served with a mouth watering sauce featuring garlic and peanut butter at once. Sounds strange, tastes amazing.
We may now talk shopping a bit. Being the Beard an absolute fan of lumberjack checked shirts, utility trousers and manly vintage-looking stuff, well, Camden Lock was a scheduled stop.
I must admit, we both found the whole Camden area to be very touristic (more than it was a couple of years ago), hence, very expensive. Markets do actually offer a huge variety of second hand goods, including clothing and homeware, but the prices were higher than we both expected. A little disclaimer here: we are Italian, we know that “lived in” does not always mean “durable”, we often look for our home furniture in local flea markets, which we do mark in red on our monthly bucket list 🙂 This is all to say, being both of us vintage and lived-in enthusiasts, we know when something is being overpriced just for the fact of being “cool”. Please don’t be fooled by Camden markets as real deals can be found outside the major London second hand markets.
At the end of the road, did the Beard enjoy London? Well… no. He said the weather was awful and humid (here’s something typical!), food was too spicy (guess what? Colonies!), everything smelled like curry (hell yeah!), even cakes were stuffed with cardamom and other weird smells (that was a mince pie honey…).
You see, most Italians can never be fully satisfied with food and wheather above the Alps.
Fair enough, I love London. For every single item mentioned above. Including odd smelling spices. I can’t wait to be there again, next time maybe with a less grumpy companion. I’ll choose someone as London enthusiast as me, like my mom, or my sister.
As we always say in Italy, “la mela non cade distante dall’albero”: the apple never falls far from its tree.
Stay tuned for our next adventure!
(because the Beard talks s***t of London).