i took a plane and a train and a tube to st. paul’s station and as i climbed the stairs out of the underground, i had music in my ears and my heart smiled. london. i had a dreamy day and a half in this bewitching city, and it was brilliant, every bit.
i had a burst-out-of-my-skin-happymixedwithexcited moment at these first sights, and then i went to take in some fantastic art at the tate modern across the millenium bridge.
what i love about modern art is that it is about seeing beyond seeing, about what is real that is not technically tangible or accurately visibly portrayed. to me, modern art is a type of spirituality. i love it.
i went to east london, a part of the city i’ve never been before. i loved the big markets and the bricks everywhere, and especially that neat blue glass building londoners call “the gherkin” (british for pickle).
the brick lane area was like entering another time and world. it was so diverse and gritty in a magical way.
i walked across the tower bridge. i love the colors. the views were great.
this is my friend gem. she was in the last ward i served in as a missionary and has since lived in the turks & caicos islands with her husband byron. they recently moved back to the uk and gem’s spending the summer in london! it was so fun to meet up, catch up, explore and stay with her – she was the best hostess ever. she showed me cool spots, starting with the colorful houses and markets on portobello road.
we had afternoon tea at the most adorable little place called bea’s of bloomsbury. divine and oh! so sweet!
gem took me to the top of oxo tower on the south bank of the thames. she had read somewhere that they had a good view from their rooftop restaurant and it was true! the clouds were just starting to part!
as we walked along southbank, we came across a little portable carnival with rides and booths and thought these swings would be a blast to ride over the city. it was even more fun than it looks – a pure thrill – and the views were not too shabby:
riding those swings is one of my favourite things i’ve done maybe ever – at least this summer!! i thought it was some ways better than the london eye itself. we kept walking to westminister bridge for the most spectacular and famous views of london.
how could anyone not be astonished and enchanted by big ben? i have a crush on him.
we had to stop by the queen’s house for a quick visit.
and heaven smiled a sunset for us – with my crush glowing in the distance.
we rented bikes (london has a new and awesome bike rental system with banks of bikes all over the city) and swooped through hyde park as it got dark.
when i see those kinds of signs, i feel like i have to disobey them. i can’t not. there was no one else in the park and it was awesome.
we decided to ride up oxford street to oxford circus and then down regent street. i realize that i have a problem with repeatedly saying things are my favourite, but i really do think this 30 minutes on a bike next to the red double-deckers and the old-fashioned taxis was my favourite part of my time in the uk. i was whooping and hollering with delight and the magic of london ran over my skin. it was exhilarating.
we rode all the way to picadilly circus:
and then we walked through leister square, covet garden, trafalgar square and back to the houses of parliament to see big ben and the eye all lit up under the indigo sky.
what an incredible day.
the next morning we met up with gem’s husband byron and went to check out the hundreds of neat food stalls at borough market. the colors, sounds, smells, textures and tastes! sublime.
gem and byron dropped me off at victoria station by noon and as i whizzed away from the city i felt so completely content and glad. in a whirlwind of activity, fun, prettiness and pricked senses, i saw london like i never had before. and with sheer delight.