London is always a good idea!

To get lost in a creative and colorful city can be fulfilling and refreshing too!

Is good to go and get lost in Nature.
Is healthy to get lost in yourself.
Sometime is real fun to go and get lost in a concrete jungle.

East London is the perfect destination to enjoy new, unexpected, cool and creative experiences!
The financial City is surrounded by an Area where artists add (or at least were used to add) a creative touch to what would be too grey and boring otherwise. 

The constant economic growth is making the area expensive and unaffordable to the creative minds. It was so sad to go back to Redchurch street, that was the colorful background for the video "UBERLIN" by REM, to find out that the tiny art galleries that made that place so original and fun were replaced by lousy and boring commercial shops.

This sequence of pictures can somehow show how the situation evolved...


REDCHURCH NOW (that same corner)

Kinda sad, isn't it? It was to me since I lived not far away from this area and it was my everyday walk.

However, East London still somehow manages to preserve its creative vibe, and it was fun discovering the new places.
The plan for the weekend was clear from the beginning: go for long walks, drink, eat junk food, drink, get tipsy, walk, drink, drink. After that I left a margin for unplanned business, since London can surprise you with unexpected stuff at any time.
And it did.

I was hanging around in Brick Lane with my friend Lydia, going from a club to another: Big Chill, 1001, etc... all the ones that are still resisting the invasion of the "new, corporate and clean". 

After a few drinks we decided we wanted more. We walked down the ramps of what from the outside looked like a little empty pub. It was handy since we just wanted a quick beer, so we jumped in. Once we got downstairs we found out a huge underground gallery opened on the right and a minigolf for the drunk was set up in this dark basement full of graffiti, art pieces here and there and it was full of people having fun. We had to go for a quick tour and it was amazing. I never had a thing for minigolf, but that one really was so intriguing I couldn't resist peaking my head around. Was stupid not to take any picture. I was focused on beers.

Walking around you can find graffiti art and strong messages hanging on walls.
This one made me particularly proud of Hackney:

The night unrolled in the most pleasant way. Got tipsy, not drunk, which it turns out to be always a good idea and left us energy for the morning after.

Last time i've been in London it was with my Mom, visiting my brother and his family.
I took her with me from Fulham to Columbia Road Flower Market one morning to show her how just a few hundred meters of a small street, can turn into a nice, colorful, fun experience.
I never been there to buy flowers, never bought one in a whole year living next door, but i never missed it.
The nice mood, good live music, happy smily girls proud of the flowers they just got off a super deal, and of course the food, make those 200 meters special.
This time i could not find the carrot cake i was used to have: the tiny coffee shop was swallowed into a bigger restaurant, but the oyster boy was still out there with his quarters of lemons and a knife and also are the ladies frying squid and shrimps. It was a nice breakfast.

The loud voices of flower merchants are fun and they make it even more irresistible joking with the old ladies who try to bargain for a better deal.

We met there with another good old friend of mine, Matthew.
He was late of course, and when he arrived he was looking for a coffee.
On the sidewalk, between two shops there was a little door open. In the tight unfurnished and pretty decaying lobby a man put his big espresso coffee machine. The two could barely fit in that tight space. We walked in and as we were waiting for our serve, the guys comes closer to us in a suspicious way. With a low tone of voice he asked (as a drug dealear would approach his clients) "are you guys hungry?". We were, so "yes" was the answer. Pointing his head toward the stairs he invited us: "why don't you go have a look upstairs?", and moved out of the way to let us in.
That was kinda weird, but we thought, "why not?".
We arrived into a kitchen where a young man was preparing lunch for a mixed group of 5.
A bootleg restaurant was there, and it was cozy, smelled good, and it felt exciting.
We decided to stay and joined the table with the other unaware visitors.
Wine, good food and nice people. There is nothing better that that.
We truly enjoied it and again London surprised us with another unexpected gift.
i could only steal this few shots from the table.

So, yes! London is ALWAYS a god idea, especially if you are open to new experiences.
Is nice to go in the wild, climb on mountains, surf oceans, and discover new cultures, but at the same time it can be an amazing time to go and get lost in the concrete jungle of city.

Thank you London, it's always a pleasure and thanks to all the friends and family i met again: Luigi (my brother), Susanna (his wife), Leo-Enrico-Roberto (my nephews) and then Matthew, Lydia, Claudia, Steve, Carolina and Eltza!
See you again soon.

Hi, I am Mike, and you must've stumbled upon my travel journal unconsciously, maybe looking for something interesting and well written. If that is so, you are in the wrong place. These pages are useless, lack of proper grammar, but they also have some flaws. Enjoy!
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