A few weeks ago my flatmates organized a barbecue at our apartment in Cologne. Some friends came over, it was a nippy but pleasant evening with wine and tasty food. By chance I got to know Shane, an English guy from Northampton. Later we started talking and both realized we absolutely were in tune with each other – we have the same taste in music, same kind of job and tinker with similar issues. I love these moments in life when you meet people out of the blue, under strange circumstances and you just get along very well.
We kept in touch and a few days later he asked me if I wouldn’t want to visit him in England for a few days. I checked my diary and looked up some flights on the internet. The flights were affordable and I booked a flight to London spontaneously. I spent the following days in Shanes flat share in Northampton, a sleepy and cosy townlet located about one hour away from London. He lives in a house with 9 people, I got to know some of them, especially Emma – an artist who grew up in Germany and showed me some of her art.
In Northampton we had English tea, a traditional meal made up of sandwiches, scones, cake and tea or coffee. We strolled around the city, went to see the opera, visited a second hand shop where I bought a corduroy dungaree and had a delicious indian dinner. On Tuesday it was raining (what a surprise) but nevertheless we took a walk through the park. In the evening we made a little pub-crawl. We drank a lot of cider – I have to say cider tastes so much better in England than in Germany! Combined with chilli cheese chips it’s absolutely delightful 🙂
I spent another day in London. As I didn’t want to carry my backpack the whole day I locked it at London Euston train station and travelled by rail into the city center. I got off the train in Shoreditch and walked straight into some second hand shops. Haphazardly I came by the ‘Absolute Vintage’ shop (15 Hanbury Street) which is a huge boutique, especially appropriate if you’re looking for bags or jackets. Another one I can recommend is ‘Blitz’ (55-59 Hanbury Street). Blitz is not too expensive and I bought two vintage shirts there.
At the end of the day I drove to Tottenham where my hostel was located. My roommate was a polish girl who lost her apartment a few weeks ago and transitionally lives in hostels around London. We had a really long and worthwhile conversation. The talk with her was the best possible ending of my trip to England. Sometimes it’s incredibly inspiring to talk to someone you never met, without any judgmental or biased attitude – and however or just because of this fact you break open.
I always have and probably always will have this yen to see distant places, even if it’s a trip to a country near by. Four days in England convinced me once again that spontaneous and unexpected journeys are the best ones… and you always get home with some priceless souvenirs: a lot of memories and good feelings.