It was a tense day. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the flight to London from New York. Fortunately, I was able to snag the last seat on the plane (literally) and even more so, it was in business class. The long day at the airport was at least worth it.
The plane was one of the newer Boeing 777s that American has in its fleet. It was my first time flying on it in premium class and the experience was definitely enhanced. There was more space, the food was most certainly better and you got more amenities (i.e. fast pass through immigration, brand name toiletries and a day pass to arrival lounge). The last one was for revenue passengers only though.
London 2016: Day 1
I arrived in London a bit tired but feeling refreshed nonetheless. I knew I had plenty of time to kill prior to my 2 p.m. train to Cambridge so I deposited my luggage at Liverpool East station where I was set to depart later that day and went on to register for one of those free walking tours of London. I opted for the street art of East London since it was one of the few areas of the city I have yet to visit.
While waiting for the tour, I had my first English fry-up for this trip at a small cafe across the Aldgate station called Peter’s Cafe. It was a no frills, typical full-on breakfast with eggs, sausages, bacon, baked beans, has brown and toast. Considering I just had a continental breakfast with fruits and yogurt a few hours before, it wasn’t much of a mystery why my stomach was grumbling.
After breakfast, I passed the time at Spitalfields Market where I bought a hat. The stalls were just opening up and so are the eateries. I would have liked to spend more time there but it was nearing 11 a.m., the meetup time for the art walking tour, so I made a mental note to come back there when I’m back in London next weekend.
Our guide was a born and raised Londoner who has been involved in the street art scene for decades. He was very knowledgable in the subject and was quite personable. I really had no complaints except that he smoked on certain times during the tour. Probably not appropriate, but I came a little late so I may have missed the opportunity to voice my opposition if he inquired early on whether people minded. Anyway, the tour lasted approximately two hours and went through several sections of Shoreditch, Aldgate East and Bethnal Green.
My favorites included a rather whimsical painting of marine life by Louis Massai and Fanakapan, the scrap area turned street art spot Nomadic Community Gardens and the revitalized space complete with a small art school and fresh juice bar underneath the pelican art created by ROA on Hanbury Road.
The tour ended just in time for me to reclaim my belongings from the left luggage spot and board my train to Cambridge where I will begin the real reason I flew to the UK to begin with: attend my good friend’s wedding day.