London, UK: Food Highlights

An entire semester (and a half) after my summer abroad, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and share some tidbits from my month in London. Mostly because applying for internships in DC is making me so sad that I won’t be across the pond this summer. Also because this post was started in August but never finished, so…. better late than never right?

Scones with clotted cream changed my life. Petition to make afternoon tea a thing in the States…

People always say that when you spend time in a foreign country for the first time, there is an adjustment cycle that goes something along the lines of honeymoon stage, to culture shock, to gradual adjustment, to feeling at home. Looking back, I don’t think I spent enough time in one place to truly go through those stages. Despite being in a little American bubble with American classmates and taking classes in English, the Swiss culture and lifestyle was very much around me. By the time I actually felt like I had a handle on basic French phrases, navigating public transportation, grocery shopping, etc., we turned around and took off for England.

The Thai restaurant that we went to before barely making it in time to see Wicked #worthit

While Geneva had the whole breathtaking-mountainous-getaway thing going for it (among other things, obviously), the hustle and bustle of city life in London was a welcome change of pace – literally. Everyone moved faster, talked faster, and was generally less relaxing (what? only an hour lunch break?) but we were ready for the excitement. Except for that time we were almost late to the Apollo Theatre to see Wicked because we took a double-decker bus instead of the Tube. London rush hour is no joke. Oops.

Camden Market, aka heaven
Camden Market, an eclectic open-air market with vendors selling everything under the sun. Most importantly, there are hundreds of food stalls from all parts of the world!

The best part of being in London though, was the variety of cuisines that were easily accessible. We were able to be much more adventurous with our restaurant choices because:

  1. they say you break the bank in London, but coming from Geneva, everything was a bargain
  2. we could read the menus
  3. and London is unrivaled in its diversity of people and as a result, food.

We ate Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Colombian, Brazilian, Dutch… and probably more that I’m forgetting. I wish I had snapped a photo of the duck wrap I got from a vendor in Camden before I devoured it! Despite being quite the Tube ride from our place in South Kensington, I made the trip to Camden at least 3 times because there were too many vendors I wanted to try.

We went to this cute cafe in the neighborhood for a classic English breakfast before we left, and I can’t remember the name of it. I have fond memories of the hilarious waiter and my hazelnut latte, though.

Looking back, things that stick out in my memory about my stint in London include: our eccentric British professor who made jabs at American gun control on the reg, free-flowing champagne, trying not to die while crossing the road, learning to like tea instead of coffee, and using Groupons at fancy restaurants that I couldn’t otherwise afford. Of course, studying the conflicts in Cyprus, Kashmir, and Northern Ireland was fascinating and all…and I’m sure you’d find my research paper on the impact of social media on international conflict resolution riveting. But nobody wants to hear about that on a food blog, so I’ll leave this here for tonight and go back to reminiscing about Europe my honors thesis.

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