england,  europe,  travel



With a few butterflies about my meetings with the UCL folk, I decided to quell my anxieties by doing a little bit of shopping. D stayed behind and went to the British Library to get in his requisite morning of work. I’d done a rather geeky thing before I left Vancouver and purchased a “Street Sensation Guide”, which had a very thorough mapping of all the shopping districts in London. So with my handy guide in hand, I figured I’d start off by heading to the Bond St. tube station and checking out the Marylebone High Street area. Unfortunately, it decided to be a bit drizzly, but I soldiered on in the rain. The area was pretty, with lots of little shops, but it looked to be geared towards a slightly older audience (perhaps 35 – 40 +). I grabbed a pain au chocolat for breakfast before heading down through St. Christopher’s Place, a narrow little stretch of road with shops, out to Oxford Street. The drizzle was still being drizzly as I made way up towards Oxford Circus. It was mostly big multinational stores that we get back home (Zara, Gap, etc.), and I was hoping for smaller boutique stuff with local designers. My legs were definitely objecting to all my wandering. I passed the tube station and took a moment to get my bearings. There is a remarkable amount of construction going on in the station…I’m glad I managed to get a lot of city shots the last time because there was a considerable amount of scaffolding and roadwork. I popped into Topshop, an unfamiliar department store that looked to be similar to H&M, did some browsing but was unsuccessful.

I happened across a lovely building, half-timber architecture, and it turned out to be a Holt Renfrew-esque department store, lots of high-end fashion and expensive baubles. However, upon consulting my map, I discovered I was just around the corner from Carnaby Street. The area was a neat little nook of shopping streets, with certainly more age-appropriate fashions and more  independent boutiques. Ultimately, no dice on the shopping front, so I headed back to the hotel to get ready for the meeting. It was only a short walk from the hotel to the department, and I was soon heading up the stairs to my meeting. My meeting started with just Dr. Hazan but I soon met with both her and Dr. Iverson. We talked through the department, their research, a bit of my research and funding options…apparently getting in wasn’t the biggest problem, it’s getting the money to stay there. In the end, they thought that if I’d be open to changing up my plans, I should apply for this upcoming fall (so I can potentially get two cracks at the scholarship money if I don’t get it the first time round). After getting a tour of the facilities, I met up with D back at the hotel. We jotted down a few interesting restaurants in the Soho area that we wanted to check-out and headed down on the tube. The crowds were out in full force, so we squeezed our way through to Soho and had a look at the menus of the various restaurants in question. We ultimately decided on Prix Fixe, a Mediterranean/French restaurant, that had a two-course menu option. For an appetizer, it was mussels for D, and I thought I’d try the devilled whitebait. D laughed when it arrived because it was literally a plate of whole little fishes, and I had a look of some concern on my face. But once we determined that they could just be popped in whole, they turned out to be quite tasty. D had lamb, and I had a (vegetarian) pasta with caramelized onions, goat cheese and roast butternut squash, which was quite good.

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