As a kid growing up in the eighties, I was a devoted Anglophile. It started with having two pen pals in 4th grade, one in Devon and one in Wales. We had a shared love of British New Wave music, especially Duran Duran and Wham. It was so great to trade magazines back and forth with my pen pals, and later even a mix tape or two. After a while, our correspondence fell to the wayside as we grew up, but I still maintain a greater than average affection for the UK. Unlike many, I even love British food (see my post, “Spotted Dick and Other Curiosities of the English Larder.”) As an adult, I’ve tried to sneak in a trip to London whenever our travels pass nearby. On our summer trip this year, to Italy, we tagged on a few days in London. While I love all of it– Royal London, the museums and other typical tourist haunts, for a while I had been wanting to explore lesser-visited East London, including curry shop-lined Brick Lane and artsy Shoreditch. We were able to find a flat through AirBnB in the heart of Shoreditch, just around the corner from Brick Lane. While our one evening meal there was at Chez Elles, a lovely and tres charmant French bistro and not one of the overwhelming number of identical-appearing curry houses proclaiming they had won the 2013 Best Curry in London award, we still got a chance to soak it all in. The vibrant neighborhood is full of street art, vintage clothing shops, raw nightlife my husband and I are too old for and our kids far too young for, and a young, hip and artsy crowd.
About a week after our return, T, the New York Times Style Magazine, ran a video featuring my new favorite London neighborhood. You’ll see how eclectic, multicultural and energetic East London is. I’ll be back soon.