London was our first European destination and the research was at the forefront of our minds. The interviews came in pairs and included two anonymous students, one English and one English-Palestinian, and a Comedian and Non-profit policy advisor. We explored the Horse Stables at the Camden Market where we found vintage NBA jerseys, tea sets starting at £1, and leather outfits for every occasion. Each stable was like its own universe of style and culture, which mimicked the various boroughs of the city.
The beauty of London lies in the accessibility of a vast range of experiences provided by the tube. The people of London never quite look you in the eye, perhaps it’s due to the violation of personal space that occurs every day in the cramped underground cars. One funny thing Monica discovered was how the civilized order of the culture was contrasted by the literal no holds barred rat race of scurrying through tunnel after tunnel to get to where you are going. Nevertheless we were grateful to scamper to eat curry in grungy Brick Lane where colorful street art decorates empty space and melodic accents solicit your business from their restaurant porch. We took the bus and spent a day enjoying one of London’s finest traditions of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, where women wear their summer hats and dresses while sipping Pimm’s and savoring strawberries and cream in the sun. In less than an hour, for less than $5 we could get to Central London to see the strange stomping ceremony of Buckingham Palace’s changing of the guard, to the gorgeous tree lined and well manicured Hyde, Kensington and St. James’ parks, or to busy Westminster Pier to catch a boat up the River Thames and capture London’s best sights.
London was home to Ange for 9 wonderful years, and we were grateful to reconnect with her people. The biggest learning from London was we have really outstanding, extraordinary friends. We are incredibly lucky to have shared laughs, pints, and picnics with people we haven't seen in years. The wonderful texture of their lives as mothers, newlyweds, entrepreneurs, expats and Wicca enthusiasts has restored us after a grueling 27 days of driving through the USA.