england,  europe,  travel

These boots were made for walking


It looked to be an overcast, drizzly day when we awoke, but nevertheless, we had a plan. After a little surfing, we soon ventured off the beaten path to an area of town we hadn’t yet seen. In the Monmouth Coffee Company’s newsletter, they’d mentioned that on Saturdays, the location where they do their roasting is open to the public, in conjunction with Neil’s Yard (the fabulous cheesemonger). So we trekked out to Maltby Street, so D could buy some beans to take back with him. The roaster was in this fantastic space, underneath the train tracks. The people were really great and actually did a coffee tasting, where they brewed small portions of three different types of beans that D was interested in so he could sample them. D was truly in heaven, drinking tasty coffee and talking with the barista about the flavour profiles for the various beans. The coffee shop space was conjoined to the roaster, which you could poke your head into and walk around. Our barista was the owner’s daughter, and she flagged over her mom to chat with us about their roasting setup and how they buy their beans. She was very nice, even printed out a map for us so we could go to Borough Market (where their other location nearby is). She also mentioned that their shipping company runs a school in London called the London School of Coffee, offering courses on roasting and brewing. Interesting…

After D had selected his beans and I’d grabbed some cheese, we headed out towards Borough Market. We walked through Bermondsey, a cute little area with shops and apartments. The crowds increased (actually ten-fold by the time we passed London Dungeon, go figure), and we were soon at London Bridge, a surprisingly nondescript bridge for being so infamous (though I suppose it’s rather plain because it “fell down”). D decided that he wasn’t really in a crowds kind of mood, so we decided to walk over to the Tate Modern. We crossed London Bridge and walked down the rainy streets until we reached St. Paul’s Cathedral, which sits directly across the Thames from the Tate Modern. D grabbed a quick hot dog from a vendor on the Millennium Bridge, and we were soon inside the Tate. We’d spent the last hour or so walking around and were definitely feeling fatigued. We rested on a bench in the lobby for some time, watch the endless stream of people milling about. Being a Saturday, it looked to be quite packed, so we opted to come back another time (we’d seen the Tate already in any case).

We hopped on the tube at St. Paul’s and went to Oxford Circus, which was jam-packed with weekend shoppers. We made our way down Regent Street, popping into the National Geographic store (an odd medley of housewares and kitsch) and Anthropologie (they had a “living wall”, a massive wall covered in various grasses and shrubbery). Thankfully, the clouds parted, and the sun came out, making for a very pleasant walk. We took refuge in a Pret A Manger for a sandwich and juice and to rest our tired feet. Buoyed by sustenance, we continued on to the Seven Dials area and Covent Garden, where I grabbed a handsome pair of boots (made in Italy!). As it was nearing dinner time, we thought we’d find a place to eat somewhere outside of the busyness, so we kept on walking all the way to Holborn tube station. We stopped to get our bearings and found we were (relatively) close to Russell Square and thought it would be neat to go back to the restaurant where we had our first meal at when we came with Tina last time. D had eaten some of the tastiest carbonara there, so we set off on a mission. After some ambling, we actually successfully found the street with our former hotel and the Italian restaurant. We both ended up having carbonara, and soon we were off in the direction of King’s Cross. We stopped briefly at a cute little neighbourhood pub so D could have another pint. It wasn’t long before we were back at the hotel, eating our delicious goat cheese.

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