April 16, 2014

A Day In London

While most people I know have their families close, my favourite Englishman and I have our loved ones scattered all over the world. Some live in big cities, some in small towns. With some we only have to hop on the train, with others we have to cross oceans to meet again. The perks of being a settled down traveller and an expat, I guess.

Many of our weekends are therefore spent visiting friends and family far and near. Although 48 hours never really seem enough to catch up with our dearest, these are my favourite weekends. Fridays are for drinks and late night talks, Sundays are for slow mornings and breakfast in best company and Saturdays – the best part - are for sneak peeks into their homes and cities. These short, refreshing one day explorations are the foundation to this new feature on the blog. A DAY IN is not about the tourist tour, but about the moments and sights we feel and see while exploring our friends’ home towns.
A few weekends ago we hopped on a train to meet my favourites Englishman best mate in London. This is the story of our day offside the tourists’ tracks, where we discovered London’s’ independent book shops and tasted our way through a whole market.

10.00 Farmers’ breakfast at Jackson + Rye...
...because the queue in front of the Breakfast Club in Soho was just ridiculous (and I am not known for my patience when hungry). Instead we enjoyed fried potato cubes with spinach, egg and delicious, freshly baked rye bread with tea and orange juice, while watching people in the streets of Soho and talking about our day plans.

11.30 Visiting the oldest bookshop in town...
... Hatchards at Picadilly. The shop was founded by John Hatchard in 1797 at the same address where it is still trading today. We saluted his portrait on the first flight, before we headed up the staircase that led us five stories high, each filled with rows and rows of books. We almost got lost among the many recommendations and buried ourselves for an hour in gardening reads, I say we, but clearly it was all me. My favourite Englishman just chilled on a big, red, comfy Chesterfield sofa by the window.

13.30 Browsing the unique shop windows at Cecil Court...
...where a fortune teller laid the cards for a young woman at Watkins books and we spotted a signed first edition of J.K. Rowlings latest book Casual Vacancy.

14.30 Travelling the world at Daunt Books...
... on Marylbone High Street. The shop specialises in travel related literature and organises it by country and region. Walking along the light fluted, old oak gallery my favourite Englishman and I travelled in only a few steps from Germany to France to Russia, before we headed down into the basement to visit Australia, Thailand and the USA.

15.30 Late Lunch at Borough Market...
... which was packed with good food, good drinks and lots of people. After tasting a handful different cheese and drooling over the fresh juices and breads, we headed outside to enjoy some Afternoon drinks. The thirst gone, we strolled back in, to grab duck sandwiches brimful with meat and delicious, fresh lamb + mint burgers. For dessert we decided to go with fresh bread and a cone full of salami bits. That’ll do pig.

17.00 A pub evening at The Tiger. The corner pub on our way home overlooks bustling Camberwell Green and is as worn out as it is lovely. Dark walls lined with pictures and big vintage lights filled the room with warmth and comfort. The big, heavy wooden tables and chairs were the perfect place to rest after a long day of walking, while our taste buds enjoyed a variety of Lagers, Ales and Bitters on tap. Well mainly Lagers.

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