Sunday, December 16, 2007

list of things

In the past month and a half, I have left two posts on this blog. I guess that's not how it's supposed to be. I apologize. The whole thing was started to make me write, to force me to elaborate my thoughts instead of just ruminating on them in my head.

Well, this was all easy in Grenoble, when I rode my bike a lot and was physically tired afterwards but not mentally. There was always the odd half hour or two to summarize the day. During my first months here in London, writing was no big issue either. So many things, so many new impressions, life to share and unique experiences. I was exuberant.

Now I'm tired. Not tired of London, of course. According to Samuel Johnson, the most famous English dictionarist, "when a man is tired of London he tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." No, I'm a little tired because of London (and all that life can afford). The buzz of the big city is taking its toll. The villager in me cannot help but be impressed and is longing for a few days of calm.

Christmas is around the corner. Three days from now, after yet another Christmas party and a night out with colleagues, I'll be going home to Dresden. I have purchased most presents already and might be able to avoid the last minute rush – unless my parents force me to go shopping with them to find something for me. For New Year's I might be in the mountains.

Up there, surrounded by snow and majestic peaks, I will surely be thinking back. These are the things I'll be missing most:

  • Millennium Bridge – Oh so beautiful, and leading to Southbank as an added benefit.
  • Southbank – The area south of the Thames between Tate Modern and the London Eye is always full of people walking by the river, buskers playing, performers giving their best, all against the backdrop of the National Theatre, the National Film Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Bankside power station. It's the little bit of Paris of London.
  • Café Laville – My favorite little café is just off Edgware Road, straddling Regent's Canal. Hundreds of Iraqi kebab shops and four lane traffic are only meters away, but by the canal, a few feet below street level, it's a different world.
  • The Havelock Tavern – This little gastropub has always good food and a friendly crowd, and smashing cobalt blue tiles on the walls outside.
  • Regent's Canal – On a nice sunny day, walking by the canal from Camden Town all the way to Ladbrook Grove is a most unexpected pleasure.
  • Camden Town – I could spend days in the market area between the Camden Town tube stop and the Stables. The whole world and the world of arts are selling their wares here. For ravers, there's Cyberdog.
  • Holland Park – My favorite Park is much smaller and less well-known than Regent's Park, Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens, and certainly less crowded than Green Park and St. James's Park. It helps that the entrances are carefully hidden from the unsuspecting public. This park is an oasis, and only twenty minutes from home.

Why am I not spending the break here?