Since we had wrapped up our Euro travels in Paris with our friend Nate from the States, I decided it was an opportune time to swing by London to visit our friend Ed from RexyEdventures. The idea that you could consider London as a place you can just ‘swing by’ when visiting Paris sounds a bit odd to me. But the truth is, you really can just swing by! Though Ed often scoffs at the idea of considering places that are hours apart as ‘close by’, for me getting to London from Paris is about the same as when I used go from Phoenix to Las Vegas – a quick 5 hour drive. I guess that shows the mentality of coming from such a large country.
Anyway, there are countless ways to get between the two cities as they are so well connected and two of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Europe. With so many different ways to get around in Europe – via train, bus, plane, etc – I’m excited to use developing sites like GoEuro which scans prices for all three of these transportation modes for the best prices. This will save us a lot of time during our travel planning! Not surprisingly, a bus was my cheapest option for getting to London.
When I arrived in the UK’s capital, I intended to avoid any sort of sightseeing as it was my third time in the city and I was there to just catch up with a friend really. Little did I realize how much Ed intended to fatten me up! First we did a new food tour of London (catch the video here!) in which we visited 8 locations for a good sized portion of treats at each one with a touch of history of London’s East End along the way. I didn’t hesitate to fill up that day thinking it was our main eating excursion of the weekend. Little did I know what Ed had up his sleeve.
The next day I continued my weekend long foodie excursion of London with UrbanFest where we also met up with Josh from Engineer On The Road. This quaint festivity was smaller than I expected it to be but still packed a variety of food options that made it difficult to decide which to consume. Glancing at a stall with jerk chicken and other similarly spiced selections, my decision was quickly made for me with my first jerk burger. This event is every week on Saturday nights from 5pm to midnight and entry is free. After stuffing my face with a samosa after the burger, I had to stop myself lest I not have room for more beer. It’s all about priorities.
I thought I’d finally left my zombie-like feeding frenzy behind me when I awoke the following morning. Perhaps I’d even squeeze in jog to counteract my overeating. Alas, Ed had more food for us to enjoy at yet another festival, The Mayor’s Thames Festival which of course offered plenty of treats. I enjoyed chips and guac along with some samosas once again while Ed couldn’t resist the seafood paella and Josh had his first Brazilian churro filled with dulce de leche. I think their selections won out.
Whenever I’ve traveled to England I must admit the cuisine was never anything I particularly looked forward to. It just doesn’t have the international status for excellent food that other countries do. So I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed a weekend filled with great eating. Granted, I was in London, a cultural melting pot, eating cuisines from all over the world as well as English food. Still this was an accurate reflection of London’s food scene. The access to all sorts of quality restaurants representing London’s diverse cultures is one of the best parts about the city. It’s one of my favorite aspects of any big city. Add to that the celebration of these cultures and styles of eating through dance and music filled festivals and I just can’t be disappointed.
What are some of your favorite foodie festivals around the globe? Share with us in the comments below!