Norwich → London
After a quick breakfast, Kieran and his father and I took the bus into the city center where Kieran showed me the venue called The Waterfront where Ed Sheeran played really early on in his career and it was such a big deal that he sold out three nights in a row at a small venue back then. We then walked over to the Norwich Cathedral, which was beautiful and had a great atmosphere since an organ recital was going on and creating beautiful music as a backdrop to our visit.
The inner courtyard area looked a lot like the courtyard from the Harry Potter movies’ Hogwarts. We popped into the gift shop and I got a pin with the Norwich cathedral on it, a perfect addition to my pin collection (I’ve decided to collect a pin from each destination I visit during my time abroad – my one from Iceland is a pin of a puffin).
We then stopped at a Wetherspoons, which is a cheap chain bar location where we got lattes before heading to the train station. After loading all my luggage out of Kieran’s moms car, I said a bittersweet goodbye and boarded my train to London.
Because of the bank holiday, I had to transfer trains at Cambridge before arriving at London Liverpool Street station. Not wanting to lug my hundred pounds of luggage across the city, I opted for a London black cab to take me to my Airbnb in the hip neighborhood of Shoreditch. After settling in, I took some time to finally upload my blog posts and then headed out to walk around and explore the neighborhood a bit.
I was walking down Brick Lane, a popular spot for Indian restaurants, when the smell of chocolate hit me full force and coaxed me into this little shop called Dark Sugars. They had all kinds of delicious looking and heavenly smelling chocolates, but I went to the counter and ordered a cinnamon hot chocolate – and was not at all disappointed. The barista chopped up slivers of chocolate from a large bricks of fresh white, milk, and dark chocolate, and poured those into a cup of hot water. Quite literally, hot chocolate, the way it’s definitely intended to be enjoyed; not those packets of hot chocolate that are so often used.
Continuing down Brick Lane with my decadent hot chocolate in hand, I stopped at the famed Rough Trade record store – oddly enough, I’ve now been to the one in London before having visited the location in my native New York.
I spotted a fish and chips stand and figured I might as well get the traditional local fare while I was here, and the chips (fries) were some of the best I’ve had in a long time.
I continued walking throughout the city, keeping in mind to head north toward Hoxton where I would be attending a Sofar Sounds concert. If you haven’t heard of it, Sofar shows are small concerts hosted in people’s homes where three up and coming or unknown artists are featured and each play a few songs. They happen in cities around the world (again, ironically my first Sofar show was here in London, not NYC), and the best part is the community of people that the shows bring together – music lovers from all over the world. I met another New Yorker who was in London for a short while and we enjoyed the show together. Music is always my favorite topic to bond with other people over.
I returned to my Airbnb after the show and Facetimed my mom since it was her birthday – the first time I had not been physically with her on her birthday. Afterwards, I packed up most of my belongings and checked out the kitchen in the basement of the building where they had this adorable world map, making me feel right at home alongside this group of international travelers.