Last week Dillon had to do some work at the other office, which happens to be right outside London. We picked a hotel in zone 1 and while Dillon was at work I got to wander the city, slowly turning my feet into hooves between taking breaks to read Orwell's 1984 while IN London, where it takes place. My mom lent me her copy (published before 1984 which is important) and I saved it so I'd be able to read it here. What an amazing way to read this book, wandering around and then reading a bit at night and realizing I was at the place they met up in the book earlier in the day? Reading about the capitalists and how the worst of all is called the King while sitting within view of Buckingham Palace? So so cool. Everything about this pic amuses and disturbs me, including my dollar bill bookmark. I also finally found a legit art store in England, so London is alright by me.
I figured out the first day we were there I walked just over 7 miles! We saw Buckingham Palace, walked the Mall and saw pelicans in St James' Park. We went to The National Portrait Gallery, which disappointingly and surprisingly did not have a portrait of England's national treasure and most often heard voice, Sir David Attenborough. FOR SHAME. We watched Big Ben toll 6 and then a huge rainbow form over it and checked it out at night looking all spooky and imposing, too. We deemed just about everything to be "the Queen's favorite". Shitty pub named The Bag o' Nails? The Queen's favorite. White Pelicans? The Queen's favorite. The geraniums that are in all the gardens in the city? Geraniums must be the Queen's favorite. The Queen also must make her guards wear their stupid uniforms for fun because they carry automatic rifles, no old fashioned weapons there.
It was really fun, and this past weekend when we were there was Summer Bank Holiday which is basically English Labor Day aka. "Summer is over, PARTY!" So we got not only an extra day to explore, but we also got to go to the Notting Hill Carnival with two friends who live outside London! It was … huge. Really I can't compare it to anything except what I imagine Carnival in Rio to be like. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life. Everyone was having a great time, the music was so loud, everyone was gorgeous, people were walking around covered in chocolate and the drinking was no joke. No little nips on the street, we're talking people dancing with 750s of Jager ten feet from cops. I would love to know what it looked like from above, it was wild!
We went all over really, it ruled. I was surprised by how cool London is.
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^^^ Big Ben is the creepiest, darkest sounding bell I've ever heard. That foreboding bell sound you've heard in metal songs or horror movies? This dude right here. The blood red wallpaper inside the building definitely adds to the effect, too.
^^^ Went to The National Gallery and saw The Arnolfini Shotgun Wedding by Jan van Eyck (a longtime fave of mine), Rembrandt's last self portrait (1669), Van Gogh's Sunflowers (which is my Grandma's favorite painting) and many hilarious Jesus and Mary paintings in which baby Jesus looks like he's up to no good (also has anyone else ever noticed that Jesus in the London version of da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks looks exactly like Danny from the Shining?) We also saw what "hangry" looks like if the being that is hangry happens to be a dragon and the nearest food is a man's face.
^^^ We looked at Westminster Abbey but didn't go in because they not only charge admission, but expensive admission… to a church (£18 each! That works out to $61 total!) We did use its toilets though, oh the little things. No church will ever extort me of money that could be spent on beer.
^^^ Also, fellow craft lovers, we went to Liberty of London. Sorry for not realizing before that it was an actual place, but holy shit is it an actual place! 5 floors of amazing fancy stuff to buy, including all of their fabrics. I played it cool and didn't get dazzled enough to sell my soul to the consumerist devil, but I did nab a few Liberty of London print cotton hankies made in England, and Db picked one as a cool pocket square. Now every time I don't waste a tissue I'll get to look at something beautiful. Maybe next time Db has to work down there I'll pick up a yard and a half to make a dress with…
^^^ Had "Cream Tea" at Sketch, which isn't the same as "Afternoon Tea". All the fun little sandwiches and cakes are a million dollars, so we stuck with tea and scones and a slice caramel chocolate cake. It was delicious, I only feel kinda bad we didn't eat the silly cakes.
^^^ The bathroom at Sketch was absurd. Each pod had a toilet in it and its own super loud narrated nature/science soundtrack. I don't know what the aesthetics of this place were about but I suggest googling "Sketch London" and looking at the images. This whole traveling around Europe thing is resulting in a large number of bizarre bathroom selfies, also compounded by the fact that Db and I have been taking pics of weird bathrooms to show each other. I might have to make a post just of bathroom selfies after this is all said and done.
^^^ I had a lonely beer in the back corner of The Ten Bells which is supposedly where Jack the Ripper picked up two of his victims. The bathrooms in that place were sufficiently horrifying, it was like a dungeon. The place itself was fairly cool and had the best English beer I've had yet on tap, Camden Pale Ale. It's right across the street from Old Spitalfields Market (who names shit in England, seriously) which is pretty legit on a Thursday because it's antiques day and there is some epic strange stuff. Maybe next time I'll get to go on a Tuesday and investigate the vintage clothing.
^^^ And finally, got rained on.
Damn guys, I swear we do more than travel cool places. To be honest the lows of living in Sheffield are about the same intensity as the highs of traveling all these rad places. We both really miss Uzo and Philadelphia and our regular life in general. Sheffield is the absolute worst, but who wants to read about that? Things like finding a decent grocery store are enough of a highlight to win the whole month here, the law of averages keeps us honest when we get to do all the awesome things I'm writing about. I have a few other posts about travel queued up and I almost feel guilty about posting them because this shit is unbelievably cool. Just know that WE REALIZE IT, and also that you are getting only the coolest parts of this whole jam. At least the candy here is good right?