We took a red eye flight on Wednesday night through Toronto and arrived in London early on Thursday morning. After making the trek from Heathrow to our hotel and dropping off our stuff we set out in the city. As I mentioned in my previous post I studied abroad in London, so I wanted to go back and check out my old neighborhood. I lived in Camden, which is in north London and is home to the Camden Lock Market and Stables Market, two adjoining markets with tons of people selling things, food stalls, and all kinds of interesting stuff in a labyrinthine setting. I kind of forgot how cool it is until we went again.
Speaking of forgetting, my memory is apparently terrible. To even walk by my old house I had to use Google maps to semi-recreate through muscle memory my walk from the Chalk Farm Tube station in order to figure out what the street name was. Pretty much the tale of the entire trip was me not remembering things or vaguely remembering things. Apparently I shouldn’t wait another 18 years to go back again.
After we grabbed food and walked around in Camden market we walked along the canal and then up to Primrose Hill. You can get a really good view of the city from up there. It’s amazing how much has been built up since I was last there. The city is being taken over by glass skyscrapers everywhere with lots more coming if the number of cranes you can see are any indication.
From Primrose Hill we walked over to my old house so I could see it and take a picture. It hadn’t changed any, but the house across the street where Noel Gallagher from Oasis used to live when I was there is now owned by someone else. That means the white gate walls are no longer covered in Sharpied graffiti notes from his fans and there’s no longer an almost constant contingent of people standing out front hoping to talk to him and get his autograph. I never had any interaction with him and based on stories from the time he doesn’t sound like a stellar human being, but I also appreciated that if he was home and a fans waited outside long enough he pretty much always came down and signed something for them.
I can’t remember the name of the pub that we used to go to at the end of street, and my memory of it’s location seems off from what is there now, but I’m guessing the giant brewery/beer hall that now sits on the corner at the end of the street was built on top of that pub. Certainly what’s there now was not there 18 years ago. My memory isn’t that bad.
Although I’ve already forgotten why we wound up at Westminster Abbey after we left Camden. I had suggested going a little farther north to Hampstead Heath and going to the Kenwood House, but my husband feeling the jet lag didn’t want to get farther away from our hotel. Once we were back around Westminster we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. My husband had never been to Westminster Abbey, so I suggested that. However, I’ve been to Westminster Abbey at least four times and he decided he didn’t care enough about it to pay £20 to go in.
In effort to find some store he thought he had seen saw coming out of the Tube station we happened upon the ticket line for visiting Parliament, which is not actually near the entrance at all. Thinking about it I thought that as many times as I’d been to London I couldn’t remember actually ever doing a tour in Parliament though I had obviously seen the outside many times. I was indeed correct on that as I knew I had definitely never done it before once we got inside. It was an interesting tour and I’m glad I finally did it.
At that point we were running on fumes so we headed back to our hotel to figure out dinner. We found a well-rated Sichuan restaurant called Ma La Sichaun, a few blocks from us and went there. It was quite tasty and the food came out insanely fast. It took us forever to get the check after that so we still didn’t get out of there very quickly. After that we were pretty much toast after the red eye flight and going all day.
Of course we went to bed and then I woke up 3 hours later at what would have been 7 pm at home. My body was like that was a nice nap, but why are you trying to sleep at 7? I got up and read for a few hours and was then able to fall back asleep. All in all, I wasn’t nearly as miserable with jet leg as I anticipated. I was really happy about that. Stay tuned for more posts on the rest of my trip.