Break 1 – London

Not Your Average Bowl of Cereal 

I enjoy a serving of cereal every now and then, and I love milk, but I do not like my cereal in my milk.  Where some may find the two a perfect pair, the solid and liquid complementing each other to create a both filling and hydrating breakfast in a bowl, I much rather grab a handful of cereal and wash it down with an ice cold glass of 1%.  All cereal preferences considered, I was still curious to try the Cereal Killer Cafe.

Initially, creating cereal concoctions with a crazy collection of cereal, an assortment of sugary treats, and a multitude of milk seems like a fun snack.  The nostalgic décor and literal beds for a seating option created a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.  Unfortunately, on a Monday afternoon, the Camden location was out of many menu options and lacked cleanliness in their establishment.  I could not enjoy half of the toppings that I had hoped for, and sticky tables and unwashed silverware was unsettlingly obvious.  As a result, I only ordered Lucky Charms with Oreos (a “magically delicious” combination), but, for sanitation reasons, I was too apprehensive to drink the milk out of the bottle.  Perhaps there is better luck at the Brick Lane cafe.

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Little-known London

With a few hours in between my cereal snack and my evening plans, I decided to take a trip to Harrod’s, an only-in-London shopping locale that I had imagined was England’s equivalent of Macy’s department store.  Though the establishment was technically a department store, it was nothing like Macy’s.  A cross between a gorgeous galleria and a merchandiser’s museum, Harrod’s endless emporium made my initial plan to browse the store in an hour futile.  One could spend an entire day marveling at the beautiful products and décor!  I didn’t even take photographs because they wouldn’t due the store justice.  If you’re visiting London, move Harrod’s from your “place to visit if I have time” list to your “must-see” traveler’s agenda.

I left the retail paradise for a true museum, the Tate Modern.  This attraction, granting free entry to all, presented interesting exhibits typical of a modern art museum.  It also, however, offered a rooftop view of London.  Though foggy (like my other sky-high sightseeing attempts), the panorama offered a different experience of London.

To end my time in this city, I went to Poppies Fish & Chips, a popular restaurant serving a popular English dish.  However, I dined at the chain’s Soho location and enjoyed an entertaining meal.  At Poppies’ quirky Chinatown restaurant, the dominantly male wait staff, though slightly uncomfortable, was goofy and fun.  They interacted with the Asian guests in native language attempts and were extremely attentive to all diners.  The food, too, impressed, rivaling my grandma’s own breaded Haddock fish.  I even appreciated the 50s throwback soundtrack while sipping my fresh lemonade.  In London, fish and chips is a must, Poppies is a go-to, and the Soho location is recommended!

 

“Only in London”

My motto for this trip accurately describes my English capital exploration.  London is truly home to the stylish and the strange.  Rather than investigate the history of the city, as I usually do when traveling, I decided that London just had too much “now” to see and do.  I would speculate that I could learn about London’s past on a return trip, but I suspect that the eccentric metropolis will have new quirks to discover.

 

Destination Locations 

 

Peace, Love, London

A.J.H.

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February 13, 2016

Mimi’s Creperia

Though France is the home of the pancake-like sweet filled with even sweeter delights, my roommate and I were craving something different than the usual Spanish pastry.  A trip to Mimi’s Creperia fulfilled our dessert desires.  The creperia offered many sweet and savory options, but we had our sights set on the dessert crêpes.  Though I am sure what we ate was only a representation of the delicacies served in France, an average crêpe is still a delicious treat.  Stuffed with Nutella and white chocolate, topped with vanilla ice cream, I was proud to have finished my massive meal.

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A work of art.

Mimi’s Creperia is closed this month for renovations, but we plan return when the doors reopen in the spring.

 

The Year of the Fire Monkey

New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Madrid… there seems to be a Chinatown in every metropolitan city!  With the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Fire Money, underway, event festivities drew in audiences from all over the city.  A celebration seemingly more popular than Valentine’s Day, with which some Chinese New Year proceedings shared a weekend this year, the Year of the Fire monkey meant positivity for many because of the symbolic prestige the animal holds in Chinese culture.  The New Year parade, which wound through the streets of Madrid’s Chinatown, radiated bright colors of the traditional costumes to contrast the overcast sky, while crowds of onlookers grasped monkey masks in honor of this year’s animal sign.  Similar to last weekend’s Carnaval parade, I did not expect the strength of cultural pride exuded by the people to be present in Madrid.  The Chinese people, as well as others in the Chinese community, put on a beautiful show of dress, dance, and song.  Even more powerful was the age range of the participants, with performers seemingly anywhere from 5 to 85 years old.  This dedication to the expression of their culture made watching the parade more inclusive, impressive and entertaining.

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Destination Locations

  • Mimi’s Creperia
    • Calle Postas, 17, 28012 Madrid
  • Chinatown, Madrid
    • Usera metro stop

 

Paz, Amor, Madrid

A.J.H.