Bath was yesterday, sunny it was today. So, 'what to do' I was thinking when I remembered that quite a while ago, I actually purchased a guide for London that was supposed to help me in exactly this kind of situations. Half-heartedly leaving through it, I stopped in the centre of the book. 'Pretty', I thought when looking at a picture of a dragon-like figure artsy fartsy lit from behind by warm evening sunlight. That kind of picture everybody loves to look at and every hobby photographer proclaims to be his 'masterpiece'. I don't quite recall, but thoughts like 'Yes, I want to look at pretty things lit from behind by warm evening sunlight, today' might have come into my mind when settling on going out for a walk that it exactly described in the pages of that guide. Holborn it was, so I set out to go there.
|Sir John Soane's Museum|
The Old Curiosity Shop I saw next may or may not be the name giver of the story by Charles Dicken's - but this building from the 17th century can give a slight impression of how the area looked like in that time (before the Great Fire of London). This is one of the most fascinating aspects of London: One old building can stand right next to an even older building standing beside a modern one.
From Portugal Street over Serle Street to Chancery Lane, this area really has to offer a lot of histrorical architecture and an atmosphere hard to describe. Old, but not the medieval kind of old but the sophisticated 18th century kind of old with a sophisticated nobleness, and the creative busyness that then gives you Fleet Street, that has been the home of many British newspapers.
|See how majestically the sun shines through the dreamy smog of London.|
I went back to Fleet Street, finally having a look at the Royal Court of Justice from the frontside.
This victorian-gothic building could really be right out of a fantasy fairytale: Majestic, playful and dark at the same time, here is where I finally found the alluring dragon I have been longing for all day (please notice the lack of seriousness). The dragon - being actually a griffin - marks the border to the City of London.
I aimlessly walked down, almost to the riverside, finding a lory loaded with something that seemed to be a very old coal waggon. I am always very pleased by those kind of coincidents. Me randomly walking around London, finding a rather deserted place with such a temporary sight. Brilliant. Those kind of things remind me of the one week I spent in Paris last year when we rather spontaneously decided to go to the Arc de Triomphe where unforeseen a parade was taking place with people playing trumpets and so on and minutes later while walking down Champs-Élysées a red bus passed us with wig-wearing people on top singing songs by the Beatles. Kismet.
Anyway, quite close was a small park with a memorial and not a lot else to see, so I went back to the Court of Justice, walked down another street and found something I have never seen or heard of before:
What lay in front of me was the court of the Somerset House. Open to the public, very nice at dusk with not too many people around, I rested there for a while before I looked out for something to eat. Eating out alone always is a bit awkward and my experiences have been rather on the bad side but still: I had not eaten so far and was not even too picky. Not very far away was a Garfunkel's - a chain I had already noticed. I decided to eat there and naturally was given the worst place in the restaurant: right at the front, at the window next to the stairs down to the toilets. Fabulous. But - hungry - dinmatter. I ordered the chicken and rib combo along with chips and a sad tiny portion of coleslaw but tasty nevertheless.
The chicken was dry and chicken-y, but the spareribs however were the best I have ever eaten so far with no nibbling off the bones necessary as the meat just fell off of them. Yum. After dinner kept on walking around for a while until I came to the Picadilly Circus area where my stupidity made me waste some money. As the evening was unusually warm, I thought I could still go for a nice coffee (I don't get real coffee outside of cafes as the British really seem to like the sad excuse of a coffee that is the instant version) and found a frozen yogurt parlour. Not looking at the prices (how much could it be?) I spent 10 GBP on a coffee and two scoops of icecream. Bitter.Those kind of things ususally don't happen to me as I am generally very alert when it's about money and prices and I make sure that something like that won't happen again in near future. 10 Pound is not a fortune, but it is more about me being undesigned wasteful that bugs me. In the end, I got into the tube at Picadilly and called it a night.
About guides. If you really don't know what to do and need some inspiration, there you go. While the walks described in mine seem to be well-thought-out, keep in mind that they can never be as recent as the day you set out for them so obstacles may occur. Considering them a vague guideline might be the best idea with the background information being interesting but seriously, who walks to check a book all the time when walking around?