In the midst of these blogs, our family lost someone very dear to our hearts + lives. My GREAT Uncle Dana passed away Monday. Great is such an understatement...GRAND, maybe, but that still is not sufficient. He was a remarkable man who was always the life of the party and loved with more than anyone could imagine. His charm, endearing spirit, and endless love for life will live on with us. He taught Wyatt + I how to drive a tractor, take care of baby birds, feed foxes, and how to camp. He also taught us how to drink + make unbelievable toasts (always stand ON TOP of the table). He let us romp around his house, drool over his underwater photos, + he taught us that life is too short to live by the rules. You're our light shining on us crazy fools down here. We will miss you so much, as our hearts beat for you like Big Ben, which still beats for you, too! Many neck kisses + prayers for Aunt Lin, the Vied family, + friends who lost an iconic soul today.
Outside of visiting my dear family, here are three things I adore about London:
- vibrant marketplaces,
- + art.
These three things easily make London a must-see international city on my list. There are far a few things that make me happier than exploring with my camera, a good cup of coffee, food markets, and seeing art in real life.
One of our market outings was to Old Spitalfields Market in Spitalfields, London. We stopped by Nude Coffee Roasters for our morning coffee and some toast. I got toasted banana bread topped with greek yogurt + honey-lime drizzle, which is by far the fanciest + tastiest toast in all the world. That fueled us enough to go explore the antique market day at Spitalfields. This space was full of glorious light leaking in from skylights + corridors. The menagerie of goods was far and wide, from antique trombones + trains to maps + antlers, you could find pretty much everything outside of large furniture here.
Borough Market, mother of all food markets, had one thing that stood out: "food glorious food." From its vendors for sandwiches, thai pancakes, indian food, and paella, to its bakers' goods + farmers' market produce, there is literally a treat at every historical corner from all over the globe with a local twist. Be sure to leave some room in your stomach and prepare yourself for many delicacies. We managed to stuff ourselves with a gooey grilled cheeses, green juice, honey tastings, baklava, + fresh chocolate bon bons.
With tummies full of "food glorious food," one is ready to tackle the Tate Modern. Home of some astounding modern art, including Roy Lichtenstien's Whaam!, Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptic, a plethora of Picasso's, Dalí's, Mondrian's, + Kadinsky's, among many other modern masterpieces. There is something so gratifying finally seeing art in real life, over seeing it on a screen. Even if art isn't your thing, the Tate Modern is definitely worth a walk through because of its iconic collections and the buzz + energy that fills the gallery spaces.
Also, it seems that something is always going on outside the museum. I just happened to walk into giant bubbles from the resident bubble man. Kids eating bubbles, head-butting bubbles, popping bubbles, + relishing in a public bubble bath...nothing beats bubbles, y'all.
Another free gallery that you should check out if you have any interest in photography, is The Photographers' Gallery. Hidden behind the Boots near Oxford Circus, this petite gallery is worth the hour or so of your time that it takes to explore it's exhibits. We got to see Shirley Baker's "Women, Children and Loitering Men," which documented poverty during the urban declines of Manchester + Salford between the 1961-1981. Social documentary photography at its finest. We then went upstairs to see "We Want More: Image Making and Music in the 21st Century" which explored how image making has defined the music industry from both professional and fan-based standpoints. Brilliant little gallery that is another must for London. Their print sales gallery is currently a Sebastião Salgado exhibit that I'm sure worth your money, especially if you loved The Salt of the Earth as much as I did.
Shoreditch is a hip neighborhood in East London, comparable to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Sweet art, cool colors, awesome people, and wifi EVERYWHERE. Also, @Boxpark, an eating, shopping, and entertainment experience contained inside recycled shipping containers. How millennial?! It's a pretty sweet little corner of Shoreditch, and worth it at least for Sutton & Sons fish and chips.
Following fish and chips, one must get an iconic Mr. Whippy with a Cadbury Flake so you can fully be a gawking tourist as you stare at Big Ben, walk across Westminster Bridge to the London Eye, and try not to get hit by a black cab. Take a minute and listen to Peter Hewlett rock the bagpipes on the bridge, but try not to get accosted by gypsies trying to force you to gamble as you make your way back to the Southbank.
We fell in love with the spirit surrounding the Southbank. From the adorable kids who got to experience their first polaroid phenomenon with Tess on the Eye, to the Friday evening food market, university graduations, and murals surrounding you, sometimes, you just have to take a second, breathe, and be thankful that you have the chance to experience + contribute to the surrounding energy.
Oh London, you're so bittersweet.