I just (and I mean “just” in the most loose definition of the word; as in I’ve been home nearly a week) returned from probably the best trip ever. As my first semi-independent holiday, I think my friends and I have proven to be quite the competent travel planners! Anyway, here’s my account. I hope you enjoy it!
As I woke up on Tues. 22nd I couldn’t be more elated by the fact that I would soon be leaving rainy cold Germany. Seriously people. How unfair is it that, even though it was mid-June, I felt it necessary to wear a heavy wool cardigan and jeans to survive the 15 second walk from my door to the car. Suffice it to say ’twas a sad, sad state of affairs.
In any case upon arrival I was reunited with my wonderfully Swiss (a word for which “punctual” is also a synonym) friend and occasional contributor, KG. We made our way through check-in and customs rather uneventfully, the only slight delay being my encounter with an anal German customs officer who was visibly suffering from a bad case of male PMS.
But friends, despite this minor hiccup KG and I soldiered on with the type of optimism only found in giddy teenage girls about to do something new and exciting.
Once our group was completed with the addition of my other friends Ilyena and Kasia we all sat down to catch up and do the whole giggly girl talking thing. Ilyena shared a bunch of stories about her transcendent two month wilderness course while Kasia chimed in with her own additions (having heard Ilyena’s stories the day before).
The plane ride was smooth and when we touched down in Old Blighty the excitement and anticipation was visible in everyone’s faces. Being the poor students we are, we opted to take the normal Piccadilly line train into the city rather than the Heathrow express. I will not lie dear reader, the train was crowded and hot, made only worse by the fact that we four were still clad in our gloomy stuffy Munich attire. Attempts were made to remedy the situation, but since half of us were wearing literally transparent shirts (not like, plastic though… don’t get the wrong idea) under our sweaters we erred on the side of decency and remained fully clothed deciding to just face the heat.
When we emerged out of the cavernous Tube to revel in the vibrant air of Camden we immediately knew we had chosen the right place to stay. Although this part of London’s underground cred has begun to erode, assaulted by the waves of tourists (ourselves included) flocking to its famous market, it still maintains remnants of its counter-culture association. As you walk down Camden High street you see punk after brütal punk on the sidewalk holding signs and handing out brochures for tattoo parlors and Dr. Marten’s stores and other suck “punky” stuff. I found the irony of this advertising scheme utterly hilarious. I mean, here are people who are singularly defined by their devotion to non-conformism and being anti-establishment, acting their part in a consumerist advertising scheme. I mean think about it, they are capitalizing on their anarchism! Perhaps I’m over-thinking it and the punk subculture has just been reduced to a fashion style, but I kept on getting these mental images of like, a furniture store add with some Johnny Rotten-esque character on the front giving the cheesy smile and the thumbs up alongside text reading something along the lines of “Lenny’s Couch Barn: Punk Compliant”… As if a Mohawk is some sort of endorsement. Funny, funny. Ha ha.
In addition to the tourists and the punk advertising schemes, another way Camden has changed is that it now has places like the Holiday Inn to stay at which, coincidentally, provided our accommodations for the week. Only cementing the fact of Camden’s transformation from the pseudo-bohemian slightly sleazy underbelly of London to a respectable tourist district was the diversity of our fellow hotel guests. I saw people from every age group and various walks of life passing through the lobby. It was pretty cool. Anyway, after speedily unpacking and changing in to more appropriate attire we ventured out into Camden to explore a bit of the market and find something to sate our ravenous hunger (we are growing girls after all). As we perused scores of trinkets and jewelry and ridiculously awesome t-shirts I forbade myself from buying anything that day, a pact I am happy to say I dutifully kept.
Once our hunger had gotten the better of us we headed down toward the Lock to get some food. Now, time to dispel a popular myth. I have seen countless videos and web-pages devoted to the pursuit of cheap food in London; all working under the assumption that cheap food is hard to find. This is just not true. I’d say that with the exception of maybe two days my friends and I ate dinner for less that 10 pounds. Our best find? Eating at the Camden market food stalls. Our first night we ate delicious HUGE Quesadillas for 5 pounds each. Honestly, how can you beat sitting on Camden Lock when the sun is setting and the water is all sparkly in the sun, eating delicious food that’s made right in front of your face? Well you can’t really beat it, especially not for 5 pounds!
After our frugal and magnificent meals we headed back to the hotel. Although our aim was to retire to early allow Ilyena to get the rejuvenating sleep she needed to combat her jet lag, we just ended up talking all night about everything. I guess excitement has a way of distracting you from less important things… like sleep. In any case, we eventually succumbed to our tiredness and slumbered, dreaming of the awesome day that was sure to follow.
MUSIC: Kids – Mark Foster
Since this is (mostly) a music blog I thought it appropriate to accompany each post with a new (or not so new depending on how energetic I’m feeling) musical find. This is a song from none other that our favorite Foster the People front-man Mark Foster. It’s sun soaked chords and plaintive request of “Don’t stop takin’ me places” is the perfect accoutrement to the beginning of our vision quest.
Next Time: Shopping Day One!