The birds were chirping just like here, at my home, in the countryside, and the trees were in bloom giving pink and white buds in front of the entrances of the houses alternating with the dry branches, still coming from winter. It was the first time I breathed the scent of spring at home, in London. Not being a typical tourist period, the city seemed almost empty and compared to August or December, it was almost a normal city despite all its 9 million inhabitants.
For the first time after 11 returns to my capital of the heart I stayed in a hotel, Mowbray Court Hotel in Earl’s Court, in the Borough of Chelsea and Kensington, which as you know is characterized by white houses with arcades – which I love! I recommend it only if you know how to adapt and you don’t stay much in the city, because some rooms are really very small and uncomfortable, but the cleanliness is great, you will always have a free supply of water, tea and coffee in the lobby and also being in a central location with buses and metro you can quickly reach anywhere.
When I arrived at the hotel, the room was not yet ready, but the hunger lurked, I reached Portobello Road by bus, to go eat in a little place I had noticed on Instagram: Farm Girl. Located in a small inner garden at the beginning of the street, it is run by very young and nice guys. Before going try to call for a reservation because otherwise there’s the line. The menu includes sweet and savory, the must-haves are the avocado toast (full of avocado) and pancakes. Guys, I am not a lover of pancakes and waffles, because I consider them spongy, but these were fluffy, really good I must admit. In addition to free water, something not new in London, they offer “lattes”, our lattes, very alternative and tasty: rose, matcha, turmeric and ginger. Try and dare!
To work off this healthy but super caloric lunch, I walked around Mayfair, a neighborhood I will never stop loving. I headed towards Holland Park, one of the many parks in London that I had yet to visit. Although it was cloudy, the Kyoto Garden, which is located within the park, was wonderful and the fact that there were few people to admire it made it even more impressive. Obviously continuing the walk, you can see peacocks as well as flower beds and fountains kept in perfect condition, not to mention tennis courts and spaces for children to play. As usual, these spaces that appear small are actually great green oases where you can take refuge at any time or day to forget the chaos of the city.
Take the day to London’s former royal borough: Greenwich, which is known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the eponymous meridian and time zone. The Greenwich waterfront is one of the first attractions where you’ll find the Cutty Sark – a clipper launched in 1869 -, near which you’ll notice a circular building that houses the southern entrance to the pedestrian tunnel. This tunnel, opened in August 1902, connects Greenwich with the Isle of Dogs on the north bank of the Thames. Continuing eastward along the river is the Old Royal Naval College complex.
Various parts of this masterpiece by Sir Christopher Wren, are used by the University of Greenwich and the Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance. To the east of the Old Naval College is the Trinity Hospital, which, having been founded in 1613, is the oldest surviving building in the downtown area.
The O2 Arena – formerly known as the Millennium Dome – is another attraction in the neighborhood. Behind the Old Royal Naval College is the National Maritime Museum, which features horseshoe-shaped buildings around Queen’s House. To the south of this building is Greenwich Park. The park is located on the hilly terrain on top of which you will find the Royal Observatory, where the famous prime meridian passes and from where you can admire a wonderful view of the town and the buildings of the City of London.
The central area of Greenwich extends around the famous covered market of the district, the Greenwich Market. Vinyl and vintage lovers to me! Casbah Records is the ideal place for you. You will find vinyl of old music but also more recent, CDs, DVDs, books, prints and T-shirts dedicated to your favorite author. The other part of the store is reserved for clothes, shoes and accessories, if you wanted something particular of the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s you will find it.
If the day is not over yet, I suggest you go back to the City by ferry. The river ferry service connects you from Greenwich to central London, but I recommend Canary Riverside, part of Canary Wharf, in Tower Hamlets, that’s in the East End. The area is now known as London’s financial district of the City, it has a modern charm, with skyscrapers, perfect flowerbeds with fountains coordinated in amazing water games.