the last couple of days in london have been great. i spent yesterday at the camden market & stables & notting hill before meeting up with marques & friends for drinks in covent garden. the market was both overwhelming & underwhelming. it's amazing to me how many stalls carry the same goods & the amount of people that are willing to buy some of the junk. it was still a great experience & the revamped stables were impressive with large sculptures & chandeliers. after that i strolled through notting hill. i loved walking down the streets with the fragrant plantings, bright blue front doors & rows of antiques. after that we spent the evening getting after work drinks in covent garden, i cashed in a bit early. we also kept today low key with a nice late morning, 3 mile run around regent park & a casual walk around shoreditch & hackney.
it just started pouring rail & hail - i'm at home watching how i met your mother, getting geared to order in dinner then go out once the storm passes. for all of my london pics so far click here.
i'm writing this while watching bbc reports of michael jackson's death. i can hardly believe it.
i took my first bike ride in london wednesday morning, heading into to work in covent garden with marques. i tell you, it's a different story here. after that i spent some time shopping around there, grabbed lunch from kaster & ovens (a fantastic take away spot with the best salads & baked goods), then headed off to the soho area. my afternoon was overwhelmingly filled with a visit to the v&a museum & saatchi gallery. i spent most of my time in the fashion exhibit at the v&a, so fantastic. i enjoyed the student exhibits as much as the historic pieces. after that was the saatchi gallery, reopened in sloane square (used to sit near the london eye) in october 08, tit has a fantastic collection of contemporary art. the current exhibit titled abstract america. the day was full, but doesn't end there. marques & i took a bike ride to tower bridge, up brick lane through shoreditch, then further east to london fields. london fields was a really young, hip neighborhood bursting with energy - i'm hoping to spend a big more time there before i leave.
today i decided to walk the south bank with end destinations of the tate modern & borough market. i saw some fantastic pieces at the tate modern, but have really come to terms with the fact that some genres & forms of modern art can be quickly passed by for me. the borough market was wonderful, i wish that i could have picked up everything i needed for a big dinner. why couldn't i? oh yes, at the request of my father & encouragement from marques, i became the first deotte to queue for wimbeldon 09. yup, 1.5 hours & there we were, at the all england lawns tennis club. we got to see pieces of some singles & doubles matches, then watched a mixed double on the terrace.
all in all, another great couple of days in london. i have so much more that i'd love to do, but will hope to hit the camden market tomorrow with an afternoon in notting hill.
i got into london (camden town) monday morning feeling pooped, totally pooped. i laid around for a bit then decided to run some errands - groceries, cash & sim card (& a walk through part of the camden market) - before taking a nap in regents park. i met up with marques & friends at inamo in soho, followed by drinks at the spanish bar (a place i'd like to hit up again - killer jukebox, tiny space).
today was the geffrye museum (thanks to paola from mirror mirror - great suggestion) & the shoreditch neighborhood, alongside brick lane & redchurch road. the geffrye was such a fun experience with its front lawn, period gardens, english interior displays (from the 17th century to the 20th) & special exhibit by mark cowper. as much as i enjoyed the collections & exhibits, i also liked watching all of the kids there & how interactive the organizations is - having kids think about design & draw their favorite item. after an hour plus there i set out on foot, exploring & snapping pics. i stumbled upon idea generation where they were showing a photo exhibit of john hopkins that had me smiling & covered in goosebumps. marques mentioned the white cube gallery in hoxton square, featuring a show by raqid shaw - so i ate lunch in the square then went to see that (beautiful, vibrant & disturbing all at once). from there on my day consisted of stopping into great vintage shops, jewelry boutiques & more before setting back to make dinner.
i'm loving london, but having a hard time prioritizing the things i want to see & do. on the list - tate modern, borough market & a south bank walk; saatchi, v&a museum; a day taking in notting hill, bike rides, wimbledon, westminster & tower bridge, more covent gardens & soho - the days are too short!
berlin (mostly east berlin) is covered in graffiti, murals, wheat paste images & of course, tagging in the most modest forms. there were times that i was turned off by careless name or initials spray painted hastily, but most of it felt like a culture, an outpouring of a community.
above are some of the larger pieces i liked, the little guys to follow. for all of my berlin photos click here.
here's the conclusion - i love berlin - in a crazy way. my first day was spent in mitte-scheunenviertal.after checking in, taking an anti-climatic run & having a glass or two of wine on the hostel's rooftop, i decided to go out for dinner & a walk around. this part of town falls on the east side & most buildings are covered in graffiti & very run down, but the art, fashion & goods that they stock are beautiful. it's in the air here, i swear it. after walking for a bit, i stopped into monsiuer voung, a cheap eats vietnemese spot with lots of style. i had the perfect meal sitting amongst over solo dinners at the low bar while groups of people chatted & laughed all around me. i continued to walk around the neighborhood until 10:30 or so before retiring early.
the next day i went down the street to pick up a bike for the weekend, just 24 euro for a 7-speed cruiser. i decided to hit up some sights before meeting marques & the resting spot near the brandenburg gate. by bike i was able to see the east side gallery (a short stretch of the wall covered in murals of over 100 artists), checkpoint charlie, a long stretch of remaining wall, the topography of terror (a great open air exhibit telling the history of germany, the nazi regime & the rise & fall of the wall), the brandenburg gate & the dv bank (frank gehry interior). seriously, how did i do europe without bikes before?! it's the best way to see a city.
once marques got here we shared a couple pitchers by the river than walked past reichstag, the holocost memorial & along the water. the promenades around the government district were gorgeous & we hit it just at dusk - a perfect time.
today we biked through the tiergarden, past a beautiful abandoned church (surrounded by tourist attractions), through charlottenburg then to prenzlaur for a day of people watching & shopping. i loved the prenzlaur neighborhood, again full of energy & all the young kids enjoying their day. i'll give a list of shopping the area & street art later as we are running out of time before the friendly fires show tonight - hurray!
i am a jelly donut!