Our last days in London were wonderful thanks to some great company. We finally met with a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in two years who has been living in here for some time now. She works every day and didn’t have much time but it was great just to see a familiar face and see her side of the city.
We went to an art party in the upper-crust hilly area called Hamspstead. Supposed to be a photography exhibit but it seemed more like a social fashion parade. But hey, free beer and some photography, I can’t say no. It was also a good opportunity to get to know our new friends. I overhead these two brothers joking about the crowd there and joined in. They are both from just outside of London and the younger brother invited us to visit his work in Hackney. Shoreditch is out, Hackney is in.. or so I learned. That night and the next we went out and saw the London scene.
Bar to bar, bus to bus, we explored the nightlife. Nothing too spectacular, but we just enjoyed each others company and had a good time. One of the new friends we had made invited us to stay at her place in Hackney the night before we left. She lives in a loft space she uses as a studio for her photography and shares it with a few other artists. We chatted with her roomies a bit and when we returned later that night they had made us beds and left a note with directions to the airport. Good folks.
The next morning started at seven, the previous night ending around three. It would be another one of those long days. Navigating the metro and busses of London can really take it out of you. So, we stuffed ourselves in one tube after another and made our way out the Heathrow. Security is a breeze, and we have the aisle to ourselves. An hour or so later we land in Paris. Bienvenue a France.
Another afternoon landing in another country to take a train into town. The metro here smells a bit more of urine, but it seems to be much more efficient. We find our way in and to where we will be staying. A dear friend of mine from back in Montréal set us up with a friend of hers here. We meet my friend in a park nearby and rent some bikes. Soon after arriving we find ourselves on bike riding through the streets of Paris with some good friends. We stop at a cafe for some drinks and take in the scenery. We talk a bit and go over our plans for Berlin. Who knows where this trip is going, eh?
We hop back on bikes after picking up some picnic gear at the local store. Ride around Paris a bit more, avoiding the crazy drivers who fill these streets, and make our way to the canal running through the 10eme arrondissement. All along the canal we hear music and see one picnic after another. The usual staples of wine, wine, wine, and baguettes can be seen as we make our way down to meet friends for a picnic of our own. We arrive and make a place next to the water. Each person arrives with their own bottle of wine and the conversation grows louder with each pulled cork. The sun goes down, the lights on the river come on, and the merguez vendors come out.
When it gets cold, a bit after midnight, we hop back on bikes and make our way home. My last visit to this city didn’t go as well as these first few hours, I’m really looking forward to Paris, take II.