Market Heaven

I am the kind of grocery shopper who could spend an hour roaming the aisles of Whole Foods, reading ingredients and looking at all the different choices. My roommates back in Seattle often have to look through the store to find and remind me that I’m just there to pick up a few essentials, not the entire organic supply of ingredients. Weird? Maybe, but I guess that’s just the culinary-obsessed chef side of me. IMG_8599Now, I really dislike the word ‘foodie’ – it seems like over the past five years, this word has become hip and trendy.  People use it to sound like they know all the ins and outs of the food world.  It’s become so mainstream of a word that it makes the concept of markets overproduced. So excuse me when I say, I visited absolute foodie heaven the other day. Two words – Borough Market.  IMG_8593Only a twenty minute walk east of my new flat in southeast London, this massive market that spans across a few blocks is every food-lover’s dream. I thought I’d seen it all – after living in Seattle (home of Pike Place), visiting Chelsea Market and Union Square Market in New York, and countless others – but no, this by far tops the list. Fresh vegetables from nearby markets, loads of cheese and charcuterie shops, and gourmet prepared food carts with delicious smells emanating from them.  Apart from the wonderful smells and sights inside the market, the walk there wasn’t too shabby either. Passing the Shard and walking through Southwark is a fun and easy walk to do on a Saturday afternoon. IMG_8584As we walked around, I heard the trains rumbling above the marketplace and it jostled me from my mindset of amazement. It seems like the last week has been a serious vacation.. walking around to a new neighborhood of London each day, exploring and meeting the people around my complex. I feel like I’ve been floating around all week, not really grasping on to the fact that I actually will be living here for the next fifteen weeks. The only thing I know for sure, I’ll be coming back to Borough Market to pick up my produce each week and maybe a fun artisan bread or cheese.IMG_8605I’ve never been introduced to the delicious summery drink of Pimm’s – being that I’m not legal in the states just yet.  It’s so delightful and light and was the perfect accompaniment to the group of American students meandering through the crowded market. It seemed like every person in the bustling center had a cup with them, so why not join in on the fun?!IMG_8662On Sunday morning, I found myself awake early and needing to do something.  My morning run started off easy, thanks to a sore ankle, but became fantastic with the breathtaking sights I ended up at.  I had a basic route of heading east in my mind and seeing how far I could get and after a wrong turn, I looked up and saw the beautiful Southwark Cathedral.  The church bells went off at that moment and the magical feeling of being in such a historic setting was almost too much for me to handle. IMG_8645Only another ten minute run past the church, I wound up at Tower Bridge and the Sunday morning walkers were out and about.  I had to pinch myself because being able to randomly end up there was definitely overwhelming. I took a mid-run break there to take in the post-card worthy site before I began the run back to the flat. So, week one has come to a close, but I’ve got so many more to look forward to in London and adventures waiting to be planned.

If you’re an avid food lover, you should book the ticket now to visit Borough Market, it’s well worth it.  What’s your favorite culinary city? Tell me in the comments below!

London Beginnings

London. The journey I’ve been waiting for all summer long has finally started.  In the four days that I’ve been here, I’ve come to the conclusion that there will be a day when I move here (sorry Mom & Dad, guess you’ll have to settle for an annual trip to England)!! Landing in Heathrow, I was tired from the baby who thought sleep meant crying and nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get my Student Visa as easily as I thought. Of course, there were no issues at customs and my tiredness soon was cured with the excitement of driving (frighteningly) through the city on the opposite side of the road. King’s College met me with a sign at the airport exit, ready to help with getting a cab to take me through the Fashion Week traffic into central London. IMG_8475It was supposed to be a forty minute commute to my new home, and with the added traffic on a strangely busy Sunday afternoon, we made it there in two hours. Talk about exhaustion. Finally I made it to the doors of Stamford Street Apartments to meet my new flat mates.  There’s Cory from Boston (Yay! Americans!), Jess from Eastbourne, Maddie from Cheshire, Lydia from Oxford & Cecilia from Madrid.   Other than my compatriot from Boston, the others are Freshmen, or freshers as they call it, and are experiencing their first time away from home. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetPinch me, is this real life? I live a twenty minute walk from the Queen. I never thought I would be able to say that. What a life.IMG_8433It’s been interesting being here a week before the actual term begins, as there are a bunch of freshmen orientation events to attend. I’ve been able to do the classic tourist things, like walking from our flat in South Bank to Trafalgar Square through St. James Park and finishing up at Buckingham Palace. Just writing that makes me shiver.. I can’t believe I’m living here and being able to do these things on the daily basis. It’s been a dream for the last week and I am so excited to continue exploring.IMG_8376It doesn’t get much better than a school right on the banks of the River Thames, right? My daily commute to my “modules” takes me across the Waterloo Bridge, and the view is stunning. Big Ben, Parliament and the London Eye on one side and the Shard on the other. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThanks to these clever street signs, I haven’t yet been run over by the cars and double decker buses (see mom? I’m already beating your prediction)!  It’s definitely confusing with the opposite side driving, especially with the multiple one lane streets and roundabouts that seem to change each time you walk that route.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_8504Being right next to Big Ben & Waterloo station, there is so much traffic – both commuter and tourist. It’s been amusing hearing the accents, languages and seeing the expressions people have from the sights. So far I’ve been living the adventure I’ve always dreamed of.  I’m so excited to continue meeting people around King’s College and through my future adventures. Next week I’ll begin taking my courses & soon be on my way to Munich for the infamous Oktoberfest!

Love from London,

Laura Reed