Brand New Somewhere

Figuring out travel, food, life & exploring Brussels whenever I'm there

Kimberley Avenue in Peckham, London


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London in June 2012 – Day 3: Toddling around Peckham – English Breakfast and Galway Oysters

Missed the previous two posts in this series?  Catch up on Day 1 and Day 2.

Our last day in London was a gorgeous and temperate Saturday after all the humidity during the two previous days. After lounging in bed listening to BBC and their funny  myriad of accents for a few hours, we finally rose and decided on breakfast. Gilbert and Ev wanted to show me a proper cheap English breakfast at their favourite old diner, The Crossways Cafe. It’s one of those places where you get greasy food to soak up the drunk after a long night. My own plate cost £5, I think and it tasted like it cost about £1.50 to make it, including labour. Thankfully, they didn’t bother with the fried tomato. That said, I could see myself going there every couple of weeks for novelty reasons. We all need greasy diner food in our lives; it’s comfort food especially when paired with memories. It’s like the love that’s bad for you that just keeps on loving you anyway. Let the heart burn begin…

Fried egg, (cold canned) beans, hash browns (under the egg), black sausage, regular sausage and bacon so salty it squeaked. Oh, and that sausage was bready. 

Ohhh, a painful attempt at English breakfast at The Crossways Cafe

Ev had eggs, chips and (unintentionally) mushy green peas.

Ev had eggs, chips and (unintentionally) mushy green peas.

Gilbert had fried hash browns, beans, eggs and a side of cardiac arrest

The Crossways Cafe - Gilbert had fried hash browns, canned beans, eggs and a side of cardiac arrest

The Crossways Cafe in Peckham, London. Delightfully greasy.

The Crossways Cafe in Peckham, London. Delightfully greasy.

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Traveling / Changing Bag at Sophia & Matt in Greenwich, London


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London in June 2012 – Day 2: Teaching at General Assembly, Shopping at Sophia & Matt and Peckham

Now, on to Day 2 with more interesting tidbits such as shopping in Greenwich and wandering around Peckham…

Teaching at General Assembly, London

My core purpose for going to London end of June was to teach two courses at General Assembly London, a tech-incubator and knowledge space. They’re located down on Back Hill Rd in the Clerkenwell section of London.

Students at my UX Basics Workshop at General Assembly London

06.29.12 Students at my UX Basics Workshop at General Assembly London

The Bank of America.co.uk group

Bank of America group - 06.29.12 Students at my UX Basics Workshop at General Assembly London

Bank of America group's features list - 06.29.12 Students at my UX Basics Workshop at General Assembly London

Shopping in Greenwich, London at Sophia & Matt

After wrapping up the course at General Assembly, we headed back to our hotel over in Greenwich and stopped by a curious store I spotted the previous night. The store is called Sophia & Matt and I fell in love with absolutely everything in it and wanted to buy it all. Really. Their origin story is a great one, as told by their lovely shop attendant. The two started making the bags all by hand and selling them in the stalls of the famed Greenwich Market. More about them and my bag lust after the jump…

Love this travel/changing bag at Sophia & Matt’s in Greenwich, London. Only £85! Tell them how you’ll use it and they’ll thrown in a free interior bag.

Love this travel/changing bag at Sophia & Matt's in Greenwich, London. Only £85!

Pencil cases at Sophia & Matt in Greenwich, London

The company story on the wall at Sophia & Matt in Greenwich, London

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London in June 2012 - Day 1...DIAMONDS.


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London in June 2012 – Day 1: Arriving in London & The Barbican Centre

So far, this has been my second trip to Europe this year. My earlier trip was in February to visit my other long distance half in Brussels, Belgium. By the way, the lovely man’s name is Gilbert. Yes, Gilbert. It fits him well. This late June/early July trip had two reasons: to once again visit for Gilbert’s birthday on July 5th and to teach two courses at General Assembly in London. General Assembly is a sort of tech incubator space that started in NYC and has so far spread to San Francisco, London and Berlin (opening in September 2012). The two courses I taught at GA London were a Basic Branding course and a UX (user experience) Basics Workshop.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to head to London again for the first time since August 2002, so almost 10 years later. The last time, a few friends and I stayed for about a day and a a half in Whitechapel before heading off to Lisbon and to do a road trip through Spain. This time around I had Gilbert with me to show me around his old haunts since he lived there for 13 years after finishing university.

So yeah, the trip. I first flew into Brussels via a layover in London’s Heathrow airport. Don’t get me started on the irony of having to return less than 24 hours later, really. When searching for flights, I considered flying directly into LHR but the time wasted of getting the Eurostart to and from Brussels on each end of the trip would have cut into our time together.

I touched down in Brussels late afternoon, June 27 from JFK, had dinner, slept and then we were off on the Eurostar train the next morning to London. The tickets cost about £190 total, roundtrip but that’s because we got them a little late. With some more planning and flexibility, we could get them for about £200 total. The exchange rate at the time was 1.5 dollars to a pound. So, £190 ≈ $285. The ride itself is extremely quick from Brussels’ Gare du Midi station to London’s St. Pancras train station at about 2 hours.

Below are a few highlights from the first Day or so of the trip, at JFK, in Brussels and in London the first night.

Photographing travelers and the sunset, while waiting for the Airtrain at JFK.

Photographing travelers and the sunset, while waiting for the Airtrain at JFK.

Dinner upon arriving in Brussels: Hanger steak with shallots braised in wine for hours at Le Saint-Hubert in Schaerbeek

Hanger steak with shallots braised in wine for hours at Le Saint-Hubert in Schaerbeek

The Queen doesn’t play. She lets you know she has way more money than you…DIAMONDS.

The Queen doesn't play. She lets you know...DIAMONDS.

After teaching the Branding course at General Assembly, Gilbert took me walking around The Barbican Centre, which is a theatre and arts complex equivalent to New York City’s Lincoln Centre.

It was about 7pm and the light was gorgeous everywhere.

Sunset at The Barbican Centre, London

Gilbert and me being silly, of course. 

Gilbert and me at The Barbican Centre, London, UK

More after the jump…

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