hello, London!

Image of the Thames River and St. Paul's Cathedral

Let’s do this! I am so thrilled to be studying in London for the next few months! Chicago is great, and I can’t wait to start sharing some of my favorite spots from back home, but, for now, I’m actually enjoying living in a city that I haven’t quite mastered yet (not even close.) If you’ve just stumbled across EE by accident, you might want to read a bit about me here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you to get back!

Image of the London Eye and Big Ben

Something that I try to do daily, but especially while abroad, is to balance every negative thought or occurrence with a positive. On my first day of school, I had two classes back to back that were a few blocks apart from each other via bridge. My timing and sense of direction were completely abysmal, and I ended up being about fifteen minutes late for my second class. But while walking (sprinting) across the bridge, I turn to the left and wouldn’t you know, there’s the London Eye with Big Ben faintly in the background. Big Ben is actually under construction while I’m here, so I won’t get to hear it ring, but I’m not too disappointed about that.

Image of Brixton Art

After my first day of classes, I ventured over into one of my favorite discoveries within London thus far: Brixton. I’ve never been to Brooklyn, NY, but this is how I picture it. Brixton even sounds like Brooklyn. Its vibe sort of reminds me of Wicker Park in Chicago, but it’s even more gritty and a lot more diverse. I’ve noticed that London in general has less of a segregation problem than Chicago which is extremely admirable and something my hometown needs to take note on.

Image of Pop Brixton

Image of Brixton Graffiti

Image of Brixton Street Art

My favorite thing about Brixton is that street art covers everythingβ€”the sides of houses, storefront facades, and the sidewalk. It truly is a colorful community, seen especially by one of its main attractions, Pop Brixton. Constructed from a set of obsolete railway cars, it is an outdoor collection of restaurants and boutiques. It’s like Revival Food Hall in Chicago, where you can order food from any of the restaurants and then enjoy it in a communal eating area (a charming set of colorful picnic benches.)

Image of 26 Grains Porridge

Speaking of, let’s move on to some FOOD! Certainly the prettiest thing I’ve eaten this past week was this Nordic pear porridge from 26 Grains. Porridge, which you might remember from Goldilocks, tastes exactly like oatmeal. If there’s a difference, I don’t know what it is. The star of this dish was definitely the crunchy cacao crumble on top, which added a hint of salt and bitterness as well as texture that went perfectly with the mild sweetness of the pears and the creamy coconut yogurt.

Image of Neal's Yard

26 Grains is located in Neal’s Yard, which is a small hybrid between a courtyard and an alley. The wide array of restaurants and shops form the perimeter of the yard, which then has a few beautiful benches and plenty of leafy delights in the center.

Image of Udderlicious Ice Cream

I also indulged in some ice cream from Udderlicious, the best name of any ice cream store I’ve ever heard. I was a bit worried when I saw that their flavor of the month was tea and digestives, which is too British for someone who has only been here a few weeks. Thankfully, I was able to steer clear of that and instead enjoy the duo of chocolate peanut butter and espresso & chocolate biscotti. While both tasted amazing, the textures of each were even more incredible. The chocolate peanut butter had crunchy, delicious pieces of peanut generously woven throughout, and the biscotti was perfectly crispy.

Image of Udderlicious Storefront

Udderlicious is located in Islington, which is one of the more happening neighborhoods in London not directly situated downtown. London is very flat, and Islington more than any other neighborhood capitalizes on this, with rows of diverse business all linked together. Some of these rows seem to stretch on forever.

Image of Press Coffee Matcha Latte

Image of Fleet Street Press Interior

Before I let you go, just a quick shout out to my new favorite coffee shop: Press Coffee & Co. It’s right down the block from most of my classes, and I’ve already gone four times. On my most recent visit I had an iced matcha, which I didn’t love, but the iced hazelnut latte is one of the best I’ve ever had so I will certainly be back, probably tomorrow.

Thanks so much for reading my first post! If you want to see some more London pictures from my first few days here, you can access my Instagram here. I’ll be back in a few days with a new update on my recent eats and adventures!

Ta-ta for now,

James

 

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