So, I'm back, and on the verge of falling ill again (I was miraculously saved from the flu earlier after all). It's taking me a while longer to recover from the traveling than I thought it would. My week in London was probably the most relaxing week I've had in years. I usually worry all the time, but being there alone, in the big city, there was nothing to be worried about (except the return to home and the reality where there's always unanswered emails), no timetables, no itineraries, just loads of time and always the Tube.
My first days in London were filled with crowded places and some really friendly people. On Saturday I had a great time with Karen who gave me many gorgeous things that need a blog post of their own, ate a delicious pancake and found a little treasure from the Portobello Road Market (ah, you'll see all my London treasures later). My Sunday was dedicated to markets and lovely shops as well: Columbia Road, Cheshire Street, Brick Lane... Lots of oohs and aahs! Treacle was so amazingly cute in every possible way, and so was Shelf where there was the friendliest staff I've ever met. I wish we had shops and markets like the ones I saw in London in Finland too. Of course we have other things that London doesn't have, but I wouldn't mind swapping a thing or two.
Very quickly I got used to the crowds, it wasn't that difficult being an oddly quick walker and still skinny enough to be able to squeeze through little gaps. (Oh the other kind of gaps, I'm still minding the gap in my sleep.) Slowly I started to disappear, from myself too. I would find myself going up or down in long escalators, watching my reflection from windows underground or above, or staring at my red tights that became a sure way to spot me from a crowd. I heard people talk about my tights in three different languages (also in Finnish) without realizing that I may actually understand that they're talking about me. I went on London Walks (highly recommending those to all of you!) and one of the guides told everyone to just follow my bright red stockings.
I spent days in museums, just wandering around. Tate Modern was supposed to be my last stop, but instead of yet another day in a museum I wanted some fresh air. London Walks it was, again. A very exclusive tour for two in Greenwich. A chilly yet a bit foggy day, and Greenwich was most beautiful. (A clever reader may know exactly when I was admiring the observatory in the park.) Seeing a more peaceful side of London was well worth the wobbly boat trip.
I enjoyed the crowds, the empty dark alleys where I shouldn't have been but accidentally walked into, the chilly weather, the neverending escalators, my little room in the attic and how after four hotel breakfasts the question "tea or coffee?" turned into "no tea, no coffee?".