So, on Saturday I cursed my ill-informed wardrobe choices as I took my seat on the first train to London and hoped it wouldn't be raining so much there. After a morning in Goldhawk Road, fabric shopping (kind of, in that the others bought fabric but I left empty-handed) I made the longest tube journey I have ever known and met up with Goo and Erica by the Shard. We had a hashtag and everything: #charandericadayoffun
First up, brunch. With a detour past a memorial site for sex workers which I found really poignant. As well as photogenic.
Brunch was a giant plate of avocado, eggs and bacon on sourdough, at The Table. A mixed review from me: the food was unequivocally great. The fact that we didn't have to queue when we thought we would, also good. The service, on the other hand, could have been better.
But, we couldn't let that hinder our enjoyment of the day. Next up, we hotfooted it to the South Bank, and found the departure point for our London Duck Tour. Now, I've done touristy things in London in the past. I've been on the Eye, and I've been on a boat trip down the Thames. Erica lives in London. And yet, something about the idea of this tour made us shout YES when it was suggested to us.
Once our bus had made it to us through the crazy traffic (various marches and demonstrations were happening) we embarked and began a tour of the streets of London. I learned lots of new facts and we were fairly impressed by the tour guide's ability to tell us interesting things about the places we were driving through, despite the fact that the tour wasn't going on it's usual route because of various road closures.
All of a sudden we were at our jetty, just as the rain began to fall. A quick change of drivers and the bus was steered down into the river. This was completely expected and yet felt like one of the weirdest things ever. Apparently the wheels on the bus continue to turn when under the water, and we were 2.5m below the water level.
We were thrilled to hear the bus being told about Erica's lions - one of the facts she'd shared when we were heading down South Bank. And we spent a fair amount of time willing the selfie stick of the woman in front to fall in the water as she waved it about in front of us. (It didn't).
The water was a lot more choppy than I'd expected. I don't know what I was expecting, really. We chugged up to the Houses of Parliament, where we turned back and made our way back to the jetty.
After the duck bus, Tourguide Erica showed me some more wondrous things - the graffiti tunnel, for one. She's written about this, here. I sort of love the idea that the art always changes as there's always something new to see, but what if it was something amazing. We took in the spray paint fumes then took refuge in a nearby cafe, which was pretty cute and had a little garden outside with canopy covering. I'd have taken photos of the armchair-y haven, but was too busy skanking power to charge up my phone. And despite lugging my actual camera to London with me, I didn't get it out of the bag once (blogger fail).
Recharged (us, and the phones), we made our way from one street art to another to Shoreditch Yard and tried to locate Dinerama, which is a pop-up street feast. Apparently the We met up with Mike and some of his pals from Leeds and proceeded to try All. Of. The. Foods. A plethora of street eateries, all in one place, there was so much to try.
Suitably refuelled for my journey homewards after a pulled pork burger and some ribs, I found my way back to the tube station and headed for the last train home, sleepy and full.
Basically an amazing day and a big thanks to Erica for being such a gem and showing me some of the sights which London has to offer.
...? You should be.