When I was booking an upcoming trip to Spain I couldn’t help but schedule in a four-day layover in London. When I pass through the security check point my answer is always the same. ‘I’m visiting friends in London.”
April 2007 I met a crew from London who were spending a week at the beach in Goa India. I was backpacking at the time and was traveling solo – they adopted me and my week with them is one of the best memories I have from that seven month long adventure.
Later that year I flew to London for the first time for a week of sightseeing by day and socialized to the max in the evening. On that trip I met their friend Laurie who has become my go-to friend to crash with when I’m in London.
On previous trips I watched him blow up an air mattress for me to sleep on in his flat in Brixton, but he recently purchased a house in the neighbourhood with his boyfriend so this time I was treated to a plump mattress in my own room.
Since I was coming off a red-eye flight Laurie let me have a nap before we popped over to Tesco to do some shopping for dinner. He wouldn’t let me push the cart. Apparently he has no trust in jet-lagged Canadian girls.
They certainly have some exciting looking cereal across the pond.
I love Brixton. I can hit up charity shops with great second-hand items that don’t carry the price of vintage shops in other parts of London.
Like these Manolo Blahniks at Traid…
or these Prada shoes at Barnardo’s.
From WAG to Kaosan I can find an assortment of gluten free options in Brixton Village.
I also love the outdoor vendors and random stores throughout Brixton.
One of the reasons I wanted to do a layover in London was to say goodbye to my fave South Africans Lauren and Adrian who after over a decade each in London, are moving back home. I first met the duo in Turkey and fell in love with them.
We’ve met up in Denmark and Lisbon and I will miss the ease of seeing them in London immensely. After watching the movers pack up their flat, Adrian took me to the newly opened Pop Brixton for a drink. I instantly loved the concept. I immediately thought a recycled train car pop up bar would be the perfect installation back home in Edmonton.
Afterwards Adrian and I headed to The Spice of Life in Soho to meet Lauren for a drink. I tearfully said goodbye and then ripped down the street for dinner at Vinoteca with Laurie, Josh and some of my Goa crew – Liz and Steve.
I had been thrift shopping on Clapham North High Street and my new hat did the rounds before our food arrived.
And of course I just had to order the confit crispy pork belly, spliced plums and walnuts
We finished the night with a hilarious show – Diane Chorley: Duchess of Canvey – at the Soho Theatre.
On one of my other action-packed days I visited with Eng. Eng is one of my favourite traveling partners of all time. We met in Ecuador, had hilarious escapades through Peru, and survived a month-long trip through Albania, Macedonia and Turkey. I was hoping to see her new little one – but since she was two weeks overdue we got to hang out baby-free instead.
We strolled through East Dulwich where I got to Say hello to some Canadian Geese.
And we had a lovely lunch at Toasted. I said my goodbyes, rubbed her belly, and was off to St. Paul’s Cathedral to meet up with Helen, another lovely person that Eng and I met on our trip to Turkey years earlier.
Helen hopped across the pond to visit me for a week-long visit in Alberta last year. Since she knows how much I love meat, she had booked us in for a table at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa for dinner.
Unfortunately the Devil’s cornbread was not gluten free – smothered in cheese I was so jealous! But after four days of eating out in London I clearly wasn’t going hungry.
It was a lovely layover in Londontown, but it was time I said my goodbyes. I thanked my lovely hosts Laurie and Josh – love you boys – your tea is so much cosier than in Canada.