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london: the sequel

April 9, 2009

red telephone booth

March 4, 2009

The birds wake up early around here.  They begin chirping in the dark hours of morning, excited, I presume, for the day to begin.  As am I, just not at 4am.  Still, I appreciate their eagerness and actually love waking that early if only for the simple realization that I have hours to go before morning and I get to savor this moment a little while longer.   Eventually, the sun rises, yawns and shines.  And so day 2 begins… with sunlight on white sheets, bright happy light coming in through the window, warm bodies, good mornings whispered under the covers, lingering, prolonging the inevitable, when we will have to step out of the bubble and part ways for the day.

funny dog

I spend the morning walking the streets of Soho.  At the suggestion of  this lovely lady, I grab a coffee in a little café on Old Compton Street (the gay district and very London according to Susannah).  I catch up on my journey in my journal.  This is one of my favorite things to do back home but writing and people watching in a coffee shop in London brings it up about 10 notches because, well, I’m in London baby!   I grab lunch at VitaOrganic for a dose of green goodness: rejuvenator juice with wheatgrass, broccoli and sprout salad, quinoa and brown rice (little do I know that I am stocking up on vitamins for Spain where greens become as elusive as Spring in Montreal (yeap, it snowed here again yesterday).

covent garden

I make my way to Covent Garden, where I am drawn to the light and shadows dancing on the cobblestones, the pigeons mingling in the square, and the Candy Cakes shop for its colorful display of cupcakes.

Behold!  An unnecessarily long ass tangent…

I’ve always loved the whimsical look of cupcakes, the Alice in Wonderland feeling I get when I see them, but I’ve never really enjoyed the taste of them that much.  It’s sugar on sugar with sugar on top and my teeth want to jump ship at the near sight of them.  Perhaps they are afraid I might be tempted to take it a step further and bite into one. It’s kinda like when your mom used to melt unsweetened chocolate on the stove top and the smell of cocoa came wafting all the way up the stairs to your bedroom and though she told you a million times that it didn’t taste as good as it smelled, you insisted (read: begged) on a spoonful and within seconds of it hitting your tongue you realized that your senses had fooled you… doh!

So yes, I learned a long time ago that pretty cupcakes don’t necessarily equate to tasty on the tongue.  Yet there is no denying that they make people smile.  Whether you are 8 or 80, everyone loves the look of a cupcake, non?  A cupcake says: “Why so serious?  Life is jolly good.”  And then it pulls a smile right out of you.

End of long ass tangent.


As I walk and snap, I nearly bump into a statue, which turns out to be a street performer.  A really cool wizard that grants wishes.  I can’t resist playing along.  I throw a coin in the hole beneath his feet, I make a wish and suddenly, he comes to life and twirls around like a twister, taps me on the head with his magic wand and his eyes get really big as if summoning the gods and peering into my soul.  He grants me my wish without saying a word then settles back into his statuesque pose as quickly as he had come out of it.  I have a feeling this wish is going to come true.


From there I walk and walk and walk until I eventually find my way to Trafalgar Square, where I catch my first glimpse of Big Ben.  Big B instantly becomes my favorite London landmark.  I don’t know why I am so attracted to clock towers, all types of clocks really (though I haven’t worn a watch in about 5 years), old clocks, retro alarm clocks, grand-father clocks, clock towers… Is it the sing song of life passing us by one tock at a time that draws me in?  Giant reminders that it is slowly slipping away and ding dong, now is the time to live it?  Or maybe it has something to do with this.

big ben

wilbur and big ben

Wilbur feels mighty wee next to Big B.

I take the tube to Notting Hill, which is my favorite spot for photos so far.  There seems to be moss growing everywhere in this district.  I find hints of spring green in the cracks of bricks and tops of wood fences.  Perfect for a girl with a gnome in her pocket and a vivid imagination for wee worlds.  The sun starts to set and the lighting is liquid gold.  Before long, it disappears behind the large Victorian townhouses with the funny chimneys.

gnomie in notting hill

I have the most amazing “pre-italy” pizza at Arancina on Pembridge Road… thin crust, roasted veggie… sprinkled with the taste of heaven. I am initially lured by the car in the window…. but then the smell of the pizza seals the deal (allow me to fast forward for a millisecond to a day in Italy when I am walking down the street in Salerno at 9pm with Giuseppe and he stops me at a particular spot on the sidewalk to make me pay attention to the smell.  I had walked ahead a couple feet and he said enthusiastically, come back to this spot, right here, and smell the pizza.  The smell is the best part of the pizza, he said.  I beg to differ, I quite like the taste actually.  The smell without the taste is just a tease and nobody likes a tease (read about cocoa above).  But he was right in that all parts must be savored and the smell is, indeed, divine in and of itself).

arancina pizza

With a happy belly, I hop on the Circle Line back to Westminster for a ride on the London Eye at dusk.  A violet colored dusk.  I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the ride as much during the day but it is a wonderful place to capture the night sky, the white and blue tinted lights reflecting off the river and the red beams of cars crossing the bridge.  It is a half hour ride “meaning a capsule travels at a stately 26cm per second – twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting” and it takes you 135 meters high so you can see for miles (25 to be sure, on a clear day).  A long, slow merry-go-round ride, where you can stand and prop your camera on the railing and feel oh so James Bond… except you’re not shooting to kill (oh brother… someone stop me please).

london eye

The night burns to black and I take the bus back to Joe’s where good mornings turn to good nights.  My initial plans were to travel onwards to Bath tomorrow, but I decide to stay an extra day in London to… ummmm… take in the sights, of course.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2009 9:25 am

    I love that red phone booth!!!

  2. April 9, 2009 10:17 am

    oh…the photography. You’re killing me with these beautiful shots and I can’t quite decide which I love the very best. and yes, I’m a cupcake girl – everything can be made a bit better with a pretty cupcake. I guess if you held a cupcake to my head and forced me to pick, it would be the red tables.

  3. April 9, 2009 12:21 pm

    wow! how lucky that traveling gnome is!

  4. sophie permalink
    April 9, 2009 2:53 pm

    Fact: some blogs are more addictive than girly tv shows. Thanks for the fix! Mmmm, look at that pizza… I’d be curious to see a Dear Booty sequel: even if my travelling indulgences would surely put Wilbur to shame, I also hike so much that my favorite jeans usually require yet another new (local) belt to hold them up. Sounds like the European Booty Paradox must have applied to this busy french gal’s tush as well?

  5. April 9, 2009 9:17 pm


    I’m so jealous. These pictures are amazing and it sounds like you had such a grand adventure!

  6. April 10, 2009 8:42 am

    wowee, I love your blog. I just wrote a quick piece on London too, and Vita Organic is where I eat whenever I get there. And Sophie is right! I am hooked. You have a talent for writing!!!

  7. Christina permalink
    April 10, 2009 9:27 am

    Aaaaah! Your stories make me want to go and retrace your every step. I want to feel what you were feeling, the liberty, the rush, the beauty. Can’t wait to hear the sequel!


  8. lunacyn permalink
    April 10, 2009 5:18 pm

    wow! just looking at those cupcakes makes my teeth hurt. my, but they are lovely though.

    i’m loving reading about your journey. thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  9. April 10, 2009 6:32 pm

    Terrific travelogue, Bohemian Girl. It makes one want to don their traveling shoes. I love the street performer/wizard. I hope you get your wish.

    As an aside, I’m giving away some Mt. ReDoubt ash at my site…their are two ways to win. See my post for the details. 😉

  10. April 13, 2009 12:58 am

    Stopped back for more travelogue, but alas, I only get to reread this wonderful post (the wizard’s still too cool), and confront my previous editing lapse. There, their, they’re…and I picked door number two, when I should have picked number one. Story of my life. Looking forward to your next installment…

  11. April 14, 2009 1:07 pm

    i am so enjoying your trip … i feel a bit like wilbur, off on your big adventure with you, tee hee

    it is snowing here today, such sadness ~ but reading your fantastic adventures make me smile! xo

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