London X London
For this article on exploration I wanted to conduct an experiment, mixing imagery from two different weekend visits to London separated by more than two years.
The two trips were completely distinct experiences, the first was in 2014, when I was on a short layover in between Italy and Armenia during my six-month travel in Europe and Asia — I stayed in a hostel with 24 people to a room on the outskirts of town, and spent my short days wandering a wide range of the city and snapping pictures. The second was less than a month ago in 2017, when I came with my fiancé in a last-minute and unplanned adventure. He had studied at university in London and took me on a tour around his favorite old haunts — we stayed in Mayfair and didn't wander too far from there. It's easy to say which of these experiences was my favorite, because despite being an avid solo traveller, there's nothing like exploring a city with your #1 adventure body, and to boot a guided tour from someone who knows where they're going and can take you to those secret spots that are hard to find even with a lot planning (which was never really my forte to begin with.) But having been there alone previously only made the second visit even more meaningful, so I'm happy to have had both.
Inspired by this experiment and by some recent changes to my blog, I also wanted to take a shot at a new format of article, something I've been hoping to do for a while now. Adapting my love for print design, a technique that I haven't really had the chance to do since my time working at a photography magazine right out of college, I've created a scrollable magazine article of sorts — not a lot of text, but heavily image-based. Please take a look through and let me know what you think!
Stately architecture is one of my favorite parts of Europe. Wandering around these buildings that are so immense in size and decked out in architectural detail is (yes, I know it's cliché) so difficult to find in the States. And there's so much of it in London, from all kinds of difference styles and eras.
People watching is another wonderful part of travel—I love walking the streets and taking pictures on the street. Or even better, getting the chance to speak more in-depth with people. Jessica Light is the last working passementerie weaver in London, working in Bethnel Green. I had the chance to interview her for a Badass Ladies article, which will be coming up on the blog in the next month or so.
If you've read through this blog at all, you'll already know that I have a deep love for markets. And London has no shortage of these, from Portobello Market stocked with antiques and vintage collectables to Camden, a more youthful and grungy space for small stalls and huge snacks. Then there's Borough Market for local groceries and finer dining, and the bustling Columbia Road Flower Market packed with hipsters in Bethnel green.
Mayfair and Soho were our favorite night-time hangouts, the former for sophisticated dining and cocktail bars, and the latter for young and edgy dinners, pubs, and all-night coffee shops.
Museums, museums, museums! Science, art, history — whether you want to see eclectic collections in art and design at the V&A Museum, modern cabinets of curiosities at the plethora of anatomy and pathology museums (pictured is the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL), or anamatronic carnivores at the Natural History Museum, London has many of the finest in the world, big and small.
A great part of London is the breadth of history and how it's been preserved , the little moments where you can see touches of those stories and styles come through in architecture, antiques, culture, and more.
One part of London I didn't get the chance to explore on my own was the pub culture — much more easily enjoyed with a good partner. Open any time of day with a warm and welcoming vibe, beers and cider, meat pies and mash.
Contemporary art is always a huge draw for me — in trip one it was a tour of the East End Street art scene, and trip two brought me to the Tate Modern.
Hope you enjoyed this exploration and experiment! Leaving you with a couple of lovely images of London.