I always ask Daniel to give me a title that describes our day...he said that my title was cheesy, but I went with it because, hey, it's my blog!
We got to a late start today. We weren't able to go to bed until 1 am last night (that would be only 7 pm Houston time...still not quite over the time difference) so we woke up around 9 am this morning.
We woke up to a note under our door from the apartment staff letting us know how to stay cool on a hot ( 80 degrees F) day in London :-p There is no AC in London for the most part, so it really does get warm indoors if you don't open windows. However, it feels amazing with all the windows open and fans blowing- I actually get cold at night! Anyways, I digress...
We didn't quite know what we were doing today. We had several options...maybe see a play, possibly do something touristy, and we had mentioned hanging out with our good friend from the states, Damion.
Around noon, Damion contacted us and we decided to go on a picnic with other friends that we hadn't met yet. When it's warm out, the streets are crowded and people flock to outdoor pubs and parks because A. It is cooler outside than inside and B. these beautiful days are so infrequent, people want to make the most of them.
We met Damion and his little dog Cricket on the tube and then took a bus to Hackney. I loved Hackney and now we are possibly adding it to our list of neighborhoods to live in. Hackney reminded me a lot of east Austin...very eclectic and artsy, but turn the wrong way on a street and you are in a shady part of town.
It used to be full of governmental housing, but has become more hip and happening this past decade. I loved all of the flowers and old brick buildings! Plus, your money goes a long way here.
We met new friends, Megan and Arthur, at their very cute and large flat. They were such a sweet couple. Megan is from Tronoto, works for Total, and is getting her phd in London. Her boyfriend, Arthur, is French and also works for Total. Their house is a few blocks from Victoria park, so we walked there for a picnic (along with half of the population of eastern London)
This picture doesn't show it, but there were a ton of people there. Again, I loved the area- families were bbqing, couples were tight roping, children were playing catch...such a cute area.
We went to an organic meat market and bought some cured Spanish meats and traditional English snacks...one was a Scotch egg (although it wasn't from scotland and didn't contain scotch) in the middle of sausage and then bread- delicious! We also had some yummy northern English Brie and French wine- 5 pounds a bottle!
After our time at the park ( I got sunburnt!), we walked along the thames to go to a bar. Many people live in house boats in London because it's cheaper than buying a flat. I loved walking on the thames in Hackney- instead of food trucks, they had food boats. It was a wonderful (yet hot) stroll that allowed us to really get a feel for Hackney.
(from left) Megan, Damion, Daniel, me, Arthur
We made it to a bar that was in a renovated bread factory. Beers were cheap, but seating was limited- all of the tables were packed with Londoners soaking up the sun! The bar actually closes in the winter and stores coffee for a nearby coffee shop.
Today was a great day. I'm glad we were able to connect with an old friend, make new friends, and enjoy London with people that have become locals.