What was intended as a short stroll ended being an 8.5km walk throughout the city! This is what I love about London, you can get lost in the lane-ways and streets for an entire day and still feel like you've barely scratched the surface!
I'm not a coffee drinker (Shock horror) it just doesn't agree with me and I was feeling rather flat in the morning, so I charged up with a lovely blueberry muffin from a local cafe close to the canal in north London. I justified it by telling myself I'd burn it off throughout the day.
So after admiring the serenity of the canal and wondering how some people actually live in houseboats on the freezing cold canal water (I imagine their toes look like little frozen frankfurts) I set off towards the west end, blueberry muffin in hand, selfie stick in the other.
With no intention of finding this place, I first came across the Grant Museum. Filled with really cool artifacts, specimens and animal skeletons it was an interesting find, you could spend around an hour there and there’s also interactive activities for the kiddies too! Great way to start off the day.
My navigational skills would insult Dora the Explorer and I wasn't following any kind of directional order, I sort of just went wherever the wind took me so my next stop was China Town.
Feeling pekish again after a whole 1 hour post breakfast - I live the life of a constant eating machine - I stopped at Baozi Inn for a Pork Bao Bun, yum yum. The bun was light and fluffy as it should be and the filling was satisfyingly meaty - though the ratio of filling vs bun didn't do it for me, but for £1.20 who am I to complain! For the price you pay, the quality and size of the bun which was almost as big as my face, it's hard to beat. It was a great snack for a wanderer like me.
The streets led me through Convent Garden and pardon my expat ignorance I have only just discovered the 'n' is silent in the pronunciation of 'Convent'. Mind - blown. I stopped for a pretty picture of a little courtyard called Niels Yard, which you can find through a lane-way off Monmouth Street. There are quite a few quirky cafes, bars and restaurants with a nice outdoor seating area ideal for a sunny day.
I find that pretty much every area in London has a market. Whether it's big or small, there's always cool trinkets, hand crafted knick knacks and unique clothing stalls. That's what I found at my next stop here at Apple Market in the heart of Convent Garden.
Even though I've lived in London for over two years now, Piccadilly Circus still stuns me. Every building is so grandiose with beatific architecture and detailing, I think it's the most impressive spot in London - especially at night with the contrast of the lights and dark sky. Tourists must visit!
I popped into a couple of stores to get my retail therapy fix and built up an appetite again so I went to find a random restaurant to have 'dunch' - my version of dinner/late lunch.
From the street, The Grand Indian 1 on St Martins Lane looked completely packed and had a very casual and inviting ambiance as most Indian restaurants do - which suited me perfectly as I was wearing trainers and a cap! Comfort first, beauty second I always say. So I headed inside.
I ordered the Chicken Korma and Chicken Vindaloo, with a side of steamed rice and a cheeky glass of red. The chicken in both dishes was perfectly cooked. I preferred the simple but bold flavour of the Vindaloo and I enjoyed the level of heat, it had a good kick but not so much so that you feel like your tongue is bleeding. I didn't mind the Korma, but I've had better. It seemed to have one too many spices, the flavour was just too complex for me. All in all it was a pleasant meal in a very cozy restaurant and for a reasonable price of around £9-£10 for each curry.
Thank goodness my bus stop was only a few streets away because by the time I left the restaurant, the sun had set and it had become too cold for my choice of thin clothing! I was home-bound and sitting on the bus surrounded by corporate workers coming home from a long, hard days work. I pondered over what an amazing day of site seeing, discovering and eating I'd had and how lucky I am to live in the vibrant city of London!