About a month ago, I spent a fantastic day in London with my friend and classmate Lizzie, pictured above, who has since returned to MIT to torture herself with a truly impressive line-up of classes.
A month ago, however, she was here, and we spent a truly beautiful late summer day wandering around Bethnal Green, with specific focus on Victoria Park and Regent’s Canal. Bethnal Green, which is fairly distant from Central London and not suuuuper well-served by public transportation, is nonetheless up-and-coming, filled with stylish people and beautiful adaptively-reused residences, plus miles of scenic house boats.
We lounged in Victoria Park, the first public park in the world (according to Lizzie; I could have sworn it was in Birkenhead, designed by Joseph Paxton – the Crystal Palace dude – in 1847. Not to geek out too much…). After eating some chocolate biscuits and being menaced by a squirrel, we strolled back along the canal and through Broadway Market, which was full of stylish people, delicious food and adorable bookshops.
That night, our hosts Erin and Oliver cooked a delicious meal, and then we went to a bar and drank very delicious, very fruity drinks. The next morning we went to Portobello Market, which was a full-on sensory experience that actually kind of overwhelmed me. We stopped at a very cool vintage map store but I was most entertained by the food stall area: blocks of fruit sellers (kind of like Haymarket in Boston, but more expensive); giant pans of street-paella; chocolate-covered churros; Cambodian food; it went on and on. It was amazing. Man, do I love food.
I parted ways with Lizzie, Erin and Oliver at the end of the market but I can’t thank them enough for a really great 24 hours.