A Sunday Stroll
Posted by Andy Steves in on February 14, 2011.
On Sunday afternoon, I met up with Matt and he showed me through a number of neighborhoods on the East side of London. On the docket was Spittalfields, Brick Lane and Columbia Road flower market. While fighting lack of sleep the night prior due to a solid night out, we both thoroughly enjoyed taking a walk through this part of town. I’m constantly blown away by the diversity that London as a city is built upon and I also think it’s this diversity that holds it together. I hopped off the tube at the Liverpool Street station in the shadow of the famous Gurken skyscraper. Within a couple blocks we had left the financial heart of the city, and entered into a chich Bohemian dream: an outdoor market selling one-off fashion designer goods, trinkets and souvenirs. Spittalfields is a throwback to outdoor markets but is conveniently sheltered by a modern industrial shell ceiling and is bustling with all sorts of posh clientele.
A block later, we found ourselves on Brick Lane where Matt explained urban exploration. In the US, it is illegal to trespass and it’s unsafe to do so in states like Texas and Eastern Washington. Well, in the UK, it’s simply “unlawful”—an important distinction. Matt explained to me that if you have no criminal intent, you can go across or into anything you desire. He then went on to tell me about his squatting days, and the sorts of people he met while doing so. There’s a whole sub-culture populated by junkies, Spanish ravers (the type with dreadlocks up top and shaved sides of their heads) and also the struggling middle-class artsy type. Matt fell into the last category.
We wrapped up the afternoon at the Columbia flower market. So within a single stroll, we passed through posh, explored the neighborhood where curry as we know it was invented, passed through a nondescript street market, and the finished among the scent of flowers. In the US, something like this simply doesn’t exist. They try in New York, the wish in LA and it’s simply an impossibility everywhere else.
Bogi is a great guide. She was everything you could want in a guide plus more. She was fun, cool, and the best part- knowledgeable. She really made the trip great. We got to the hostel late and she was able to rearrange our schedule so everyone could go caving. After caving we were picked up by Bogi (thank goodness because figuring out Hungarian public transportation is really hard if you don't speak Hungarian). WSA made sure to include super cool things- caving, thermal baths, bus tickets, escape games and the hostel. I would definitely do this trip again. Bogi was fun and flexible, we didn't have to stick to a tight schedule and we were able to do things that we wanted to do like the Liberty Statue. She is great, WSA is lucky to have her.Cheyenne Hodur, Drake University ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015
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