East London Stroll on a sunny autumn day

by Elena

“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 :)).

Elephant & Castle Station: Funny animal symbol to greet us here!

Elephant & Castle Station: A mighty (pink) welcome!

Grunting pigs at Hackney City Farm, East London: Well worth the (free) visit!

Grunting pigs to greet you at Hackney City Farm, East London: Well worth the (free) visit!

 

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 !!

Spend your money here: A visit to East London is now something I would definitely recommend to any visitor

Spend your money here: A visit to East London is something I would definitely recommend to any visitor

Beautiful parks, or "greens" as they are called, offer wonderful opportunities for walks and to soak up the local atmosphere

Beautiful parks, or “greens” as they are called, offer wonderful opportunities for walks and to soak up the local atmosphere

Why not have coffee on a house boat? Check: Atmosphere like in Amsterdam on a canal in Hackney!

Why not have coffee on a house boat? Check: Atmosphere like in Amsterdam on a canal in Hackney

 

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 …

Elena with former couchsurfer Nick Hunt in Hackney Park, East London

With Nick Hunt in Hackney Park, East London

 

Want more? Check out “A visit to East London” photo diary on Flickr following where we’ve been:

 

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5 comment

Antonia 2 November 2012 - 22:09

Hey…LONDON without meee? Can’t believe it was in 2003 that we lived there….xxx

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Elena 3 November 2012 - 00:57

It’s amazing isn’t it! Which area would you love to go back to, if you could join me for this weekend? 🙂

Reply
Antonia 4 November 2012 - 10:46

Puhh that’s a difficult one..love soo many parts of london:-) But would love to visit Notting Hill and its antique & food market!!!

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Elena 4 November 2012 - 11:24

Ooooh I know that one, wonderful plus the smells, the people, the colours, the entire area is just really worth seeing. We must come back one day, just the two of us 😉

Reply
Antonia 4 November 2012 - 11:53

Totally agree:-) maybe we can let it happen next year…as a london addict I haven’t been there for too long!

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