Now I know that you’d think working as few hours as I do a week and getting to live in the beautiful city of Barcelona would mean that I’d never feel the need for a holiday but sometimes, you just want to get out of your surroundings and have a break – even if that means going an even busier, louder and drearier city. With my Matt and Hayley (my brother and sister-in-law) living in London, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the capital quite a few times but this trip was different. I was really excited for several reasons including getting the chance to see my friends/family, meeting my new cat-nephew, Xenopus and most of all not really having a plan for much of anything meaning I had the freedom to do things as and when I pleased instead of trying to cram in a lot over a few days. This trip was my mini-holiday and one of the best presents Matt and Hayley have ever gotten me and trust me when I say they are the best gift-givers; they set the bar pretty high when they gave me a vintage Underwood typewriter for my 21st.
I arrived at Luton where Matt was there to meet me, I probably talked his ear off the entire way home because I was so happy to not just be in London but to be off the plane. Also, Luton airport is hands-down one of the strangest airports I have ever been to as it looks more like a shopping centre that is in the middle of being built and I have flown from an aiport with only two gates before so I’ve seen some odd ones.
We spent a relaxing afternoon wandering around Spitalfields on my first day, I was fuelled by the fluffiest banana & butterscotch pancakes washed down with bottomless filter coffee from The Diner. We mooched around the stalls and flicked though a lot of records at Rough Trade before heading back home for some home cooked food and began making basic plans for the week ahead. It was strange, but I felt like I was home even though London is hardly a homely place but I was happy knowing that I would feel refreshed after some time away from my life here in Barcelona.
As the weather was predictably dismal the next day, Matt and I decided to spend an afternoon walking around the V&A museum as it is one museum I had somehow not visited yet. Of course the exhibits were spectacular but I was most taken by the building itself and the giant scone I was treated to. I had already had fish and chips the night I arrived so a scone was a must when you’ve been missing the comfort of foods from home (no matter how stereotypical it may seem). The day went on as relaxed as it had begun and I got to spend another evening eating food I didn’t have to cook myself and playing with a cat. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.
The next morning, after a swift catch-up coffee with Helen over in Ealing, I went to collect Bryony from Kings Cross as the whole reason I had wanted to come to London for a few days was for the Adventures in Moominland exhibit at the Southbank Centre and as we are both lovers of the Moomins we decided to go to it together*. I know I have technically been an adult for some time but when you are a student I don’t think you feel as though you are quite there so when I met up with Bryony we couldn’t help but feel as though we were actually adults now, casually meeting up in London to go to an exhibit, it sounds silly but there it is. After some more scones in Le Pain Quotidien and a sighting of a semi-famous actor in there, we headed into the Southbank Centre only to be met by a cacophony of voices as large groups of children were waiting to go into the hall for a concert. I had forgotten just how loud assemblies at school were but the noise inside the centre quickly reminded me. On the way back to the tube we spotted yet another famous person (Roger Allam) and I couldn’t help but laugh as I had been complaining to Matt the night before that I never spotted anyone famous.
In the evening, we visited my favourite restaurant in London, Taro, and had some good Japanese food then met up with Laura (a friend of Bryony’s from home) for some drinks at Soho Theatre. The place was bustling but with people being called in to the theatre intermittently for performances we managed to get a table and stayed for drinks until the bar was almost empty. We even saw Milton Jones, the absurd one-liner comedian who must have been performing that night as we got ready to head back home.
My last day in London consisted of a beigel on Brick Lane, the best chilli hot chocolate I have ever had and a good wander around a bookshop, which required all my willpower in order not to buy something. Before I knew it, I was back on a plane heading towards Barcelona and then racing through the metro to get to my class on time. On the bright side, Matt, Hayley and my brother-in-law, Davie all tagged along with me so my holiday got to live on a little longer, this time with plenty of tapas and one too many beer-margaritas from Pachuco. Now it is time to fully embrace and enjoy the time I have left in Barcelona and start planning what I will do on my return to the UK so I canget the most out of the rest of this year and what it has to offer me.
*I’ll be writing all about the exhibit next week as it is too much to squeeze into this.