“It makes all the difference!” (if you walk somewhere new with a local). Less worried about where we are going, I unleash myself – and my camera – on drifting smells, intense colours, passing faces, funny road-signs and – animals! Did you know that East London holds even two so-called “City Farms“? Rolling ponies, snoring pigs & puddle ducks greet us in the centre of town. In addition, many city kids roam around here who possibly have no chance of seeing live animals otherwise. (At least they are not asking for purple “Milka” cows like in Austria, but they could easily live on false ideas by looking at the following city landmark :)).
Having lived in (West) London for 9 months in 2003, I was stunned about discovering an entirely new “face” to a city I thought I knew fairly well. Many things have evolved, for sure, but this was different. How come I had never been here before? Well, I guess as with everything, there’s always a “first time”. Even coming to London for the first time, make sure you include a visit to this area: It’s less touristy once you branch out from Brick Lane, has some lovely parks & canal walks, offers wonderful corner shops, charming bookshops and cosy cafés. In short: It’s very well worth it !!
There really is something about experiencing a place with a local. Enthusiastic couchsurfing hosts ourselves, we have benefitted from a unique walk full of insights and tales through East London: Nick, who stayed with us in the winter of 2012, is a talented young writer showing us his home and pub from where he literally set out to walk almost 4.000 kilometres following in the footsteps of famous English writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. His overall message is: “People have been kind to me all the way from London to Istanbul”, “do make a travel plan and stick to it by telling everyone around you”, “set out and enjoy”. Enticing concept …
Want more? Check out “A visit to East London” photo diary on Flickr following where we’ve been: