My obsession with finding bookshops has gone out of control. I find myself planning day trips or even weekend trips just to go cross off another of the book shops listed on the 20 best in the world, because they’re all around London. I woke up early on Sunday morning and felt the need to buy yet another book that would add to the already overweight suitcase I’m planning on taking back to the states (note to parents: please bring extra bags). Word on the Water is a floating bookshop, an actual book barge. When their twitter notified me that they would be near King’s Cross, I woke up Hannah with just a few messages detailing our plan for the gorgeous Sunday it was looking to be. I’m hoping one day, my early morning habits will rub off on my neighbors so that we’re up at sunrise already exploring.
We hopped on the tube heading to King’s Cross and were excited when we realized that Harry Potter ran through the wall at Platform 9 ¾ and the tourist spot was there. This was the one line I wasn’t too bothered to stand in – I mean, we were going to Hogwarts! We did the tourist picture, running at the wall with the wind blowing our scarves back (the trusty helpers holding them out of frame). It was a childhood dream come true – we used to dress up and attend the movie premiers at our local theater and we may have made a few homemade movies years ago. Now I know that visiting the Warner Brother studios is a must in my time left in London.
The book barge was only a five-minute walk from King’s Cross and the atmosphere when we walked up was amazing. Two jazz musicians were atop the barge playing some classic tunes while families gathered on the steps next to the canal listening and socializing. As you walk on to the boat, you descend a few steps under a sign that says “Please Your Mind – Mind Your Head”. Clever, right? The collection of books was everything from Grace Kelly biographies to London tour books to children’s tales. I went with a fictional tale of London’s petty theft ring and – of course – another copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You simply can never have enough copies of your favorite series, and I was definitely still excited off the high of being near the infamous platform.
It was now nearing 3 pm, so we walked off to the west and came across Camden Town. A pitcher of Pimms and a burger at their local Weatherspoons was a great midday break and lunch. Hannah and I ambled through the many different booths that Camden had to offer – everything from a jerk chicken stand to crepe booths and octopus cafes. It’s a diverse collection of stand up booths that are alive with the energy of tourists and locals. The canal was dotted with people sat on the side eating take away boxes and listening to the street musicians.
We grabbed a crepe to satisfy the sweet tooth craving and walked off in search of Primrose Hill and Regent Park on the glorious sunny Sunday evening. I’ve been checking the weather religiously, waiting for the day when the weather forecast was completely devoid of chance of rain so that I could catch one of the the rare and fantastic London sunsets. It was nearing the early winter sunset time and we found ourselves walking through the cute and residential area of Primrose Hill. The little elementary school and law offices reminded me of scenes out of a film.
We came across the London Zoo, but with the 20 pound entrance fee and setting sun, we decided to continue along the road to the bottom of Regents Park. Autumn colors were everywhere. The trees were still holding on to some of the beautiful summer green and the yellows and oranges were glowing with the evening light. Dogs were running after tennis balls, kids were laughing and barrel rolling down the hill and couples were sitting on blankets drinking bottles of wine.
The sky had a few big fluffy white clouds which caught the wonderful yellow light as we made our way to the top of the hill. I’m absolutely in awe of moments like this…when you feel like everything is going right in your winding path and life just feels so good. I knew it would be a challenge coming to London without knowing a single soul, but meeting friends like Hannah, makes the nerves seem long ago – we will always remember the times that we traveled the world with best friends made after only a month of knowing each other.
I’m off on yet another adventure come this weekend – this time to explore Ireland for four nights. It seems impossible that all of these day and weekend trips are so close to my temporary home. Six weeks in and I’m still constantly in awe of the opportunities presented by this adventure. It’s impossible to ever have an empty bucket list; mine has only grown in the time I’ve been here. More adventures to come in this crazy journey of life.
Lots of love,