London is SO walkable. I love walking around this city! And I always find myself stumbling on new little pockets amongst areas I’ve traversed. When I move out of Zone 1, I will miss being able to walk to most any place anyone wants to go 😛 Biking around London just does not seem nice… You must walk to experience the city properly. As Victoria says, “The city is a text.”
The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week. Mid teens (50s-60s for you fahrenheiters), sunny, not too windy. In the early afternoon Friday I went on a walk of the East End area around Spitalfields, courtesy of my alumnus friend Victoria. Birkbeck has a scheme for international students through which they can each be matched to an alum who has volunteered to participate, and it is up to the student and alum how they utilize that relationship. My match, Victoria, did her PhD at Birkbeck on the squares in Bloomsbury and has worked in different jobs concerned with architecture. She was also assigned to two other international students, so she offered to take us on a walk every term so we can all get in touch and get some free education 🙂 She pointed out the contrasts of architectural styles and periods — you can see 19th century flats beside postmodern buildings, against a backdrop of 21st century tall and glossy office buildings.
The East End was known for its merchants, manufacturing, and traders, whereas the West End is more theatre and shopping. The East End has also always attracted many immigrants- including the French Huguenots in the 18th century. This has led to the famed Brick Lane having some of the best Indian food in London, or at least the most options in one place.
Friday evening, I ambled around King’s Cross and made my way finally to the Euston Tap.
Dilan arrived too late for us to catch the beer festival across the street from King’s Cross- The 30th London Drinker Beer and Cider Festival- but that’s ok, because I went on Wednesday 😀 I watched the young tourists geek out in photos at Platform 9 3/4, and poked around the inevitably overpriced Harry Potter gift shop. I picked myself up my first chocolate frog. The muggles handling it at the shop must have suffocated it, because I didn’t even see one hop out of it. My collector’s card is of Madam Pince, the Hogwart’s Librarian. How fitting!
The Euston Tap is one of my favourite pubs. Possibly my favourite. It’s located in the gatehouses of the old Euston train station- one side of the street is the cider tap, and the other is beer. A slight pricey, but the beer selection is incredibly pleasing and completely worth it. We tried Arbor Triple Hop (4.0% Golden Session Ale), Magic Rock Cannonball (7.4% IPA), Beavertown Fifth Element (7.3% IPA), and Burning Sky Devil’s Rest (7.0% IPA). So I guess we (*cough* I may have had heavy influence here…) were in an IPA mood. They were all good.