On Sept 15th, 2011, I began the lifestyle that would define me for the following months; that of a backpacker. My goal was to explore the world, learn about other cultures, and meet new people solely through mobile applications and social networks. Armed with an unlocked iPhone and 7 days worth of clothes, I made my way around based on the recommendations of friends and followers.
When I awoke Monday morning, Blair was determined to show me what she claimed was “the best place to get bagels” in Europe. Growing up in New York, I was spoiled rotten with great bagels, so I was instantly skeptical of her claim.
It turned out that this place was also somewhere that Lis Rock had already suggested via Twitter based on her travel experiences. And interestingly, there is a competing bagel shop right next door as well. So we decided to try both to determine which was better.
For me, the litmus test of a good bagel shop is their toasted poppy seed bagel with butter. These bagels had little in common with American style bagels. They were smaller, softer, typically plain (as opposed to seeded or spiced), and near-as-I-could-tell neither shop offered the option to have them toasted.
Unfortunately, only the second of the two shops had a poppy seed bagel on their menu. However, the shop without the poppy seed option turned out to have much better butter than the first. Ultimately I was left unable to make a conclusive decision on which was the better bagel. As far as I am concerned, neither were bagels, but I still enjoyed the experience.
After breakfast, Blair and I wandered through the city to the flower market. There we relaxed while listening to street musicians and just watched the hustle and bustle of people around us.
We then took off exploring through the city checking out the aFrom there, she took me to the financial district to check out the architecture as well as St. Paul’s Cathedral. I finally got to visit the famed Covent Garden shopping district and once again took the advice of Jim Binder by checking out a pub called the Nag’s Head.
The Nag’s Head was an Irish style pub with an extremely short bar and a variety of Adnam’s beers on tap. We rested there with a pint and some snacks briefly before heading back to meet up with her husband Patrick, for dinner at a pub near their flat.
The following day Blair and I took a suggestion from my aunt to visit The Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum was hosting an exhibit entitled “The Power of Making,” which explored the ways people can create things of beauty or function out of the unexpected. Perhaps the most interesting example of which was this amazing Crochetdermy bear.
We wandered a bit more from there and met up again with Patrick at the Albion. Before calling it a night, we caught up with some of his friends for a quick drink and conversation. I had to head to bed as the next morning I was off to Paris via the Eurostar.
Despite cramming a lot in, my time in London was as laid back as I could have hoped. From there on out, the real trip was set to begin.