In the Land of Pubs, Princes and Ponts
This is England/The land of illegal dances/This is England/Land of a thousand stances. – The Clash “This is England”
I am sitting in my dorm room listening to the Beatles (yes, it is wonderfully stereotypical!) and it is raining outside. So I figured I would write about sunny days and avoid my reading (okay I will do it later, but this is a reward for finishing my paper). My class has been really interesting so far. It is about international media and our guest speakers have been fantastic – from BBC reporters to freelance photographers who were embedded with troops in Afghanistan.
Now for some photos. London has loads of wonderful parks (much larger than Parisian parks) so when the weather is nice everyone heads out:
When Alana was still here we headed to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Cathedral is one of those very symbolic buildings and the Brits did everything to keep the Nazi’s from destroying it during WWII.
You can climb up and get a nice view of the surrounding area (which happens to cover most major monuments, you will be out of breath, or maybe I am just out of shape):
And for those who don’t speak French pont means bridge:
Remember that good old favorite “London Bridge is falling down, falling down?” Well turns out that the real London Bridge is probably the most disappointing bridge I have ever seen:
The Tower bridge on the other hand is quite nice:
Camden Market! Let me sing your praises. This market is fantastic for clothing, jewelry and cool crafty things. It is also fun because you can barter with people (I bought a dress for 15 that was around 20). There are loads of food stands and this area of London seems to be for the punks not the yuppies (and the tourists, of course!).
I spoke of parks so I should mention Hyde Park. This is a beautiful park and the sunshine made it even nicer. The fountain below is the Princess Diana memorial and it is nicely designed (even if they messed up while building it) and now kids can play in it.
This park seems to be full of memorials. A queen (forgot which one) built this for her husband and I remember reading in my guidebook that she outlived him by 40 years but she stayed in mourning the whole time (I secretly think that she had a harem of men).
And right in Hyde Park is Kensington Palace and the gardens that go along with it:
And now what you have all been waiting for: the food update. I was warned, London will be sad compared to Paris. Truth be told – it’s true. The food here isn’t exactly anything to write home about (although I am told the high end restaurants are quite good, but I am on a student budget and let’s just say the pound is still winning out over the dollar). So fish and chips – are a nice name for glorified fish sticks and french fries. Pub food is cheap and okay but again nothing to tell mom about in a letter. What the Brits did get right is ale and Pim’s (a wonderful liquor). As far as my macaron withdrawals, no need to worry, there is a Laduree here in London because if it’s good, just import it from France!
One feature that I especially like about the parks are the fantastic lounge chairs. Just be forewarned, once you sit down, you will not want to get up!
And as they say here in London, cheers, enjoy your Fridays and the weekend.