Brand New Somewhere

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

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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