When in London, one should do as Londoners do (to paraphrase), but I just can't seem to do that. No stiff upper lip here. Mostly because I'm smiling too much. For those who don't know, I spent a semester here in college (a LONG time ago), and it's really good to be back. That coupled with the fact that the food choices in our neighborhood are OUTSTANDING has made for some happy campers so far. To start, there is an actual full size super market right down the street. There is also a nice convenience store a few doors down and a Whole Foods in walking distance. So, cooking options are great.
Even better is the variety of ethnic food at our disposal. Today, we went to Camden Market and had some Indian, Thai and Middle Eastern at some of the food stalls. There were all sorts of other enticing food stalls that we didn't get to try too; we plan to go back next weekend to sample some more. Down the road a bit are numerous ethnic restaurants too. Top that off with the fact that we can actually read the menu and see if something has meat in it, well - those smiles just keep coming. Surprisingly, we haven't found food to be too expensive - at the supermarket or restaurants. Of course, we're not looking for high end dining here. A good curry will keep most of us happy (Berkley excluded), and those can be had for well under 5£.
Another reason we're so happy is the parks. Now, at the parks in Paris, you mostly weren't allowed to go on the grass and all of the paths were this sandy, stone mixture and the playgrounds were - well - lame. Today, we checked out Regent's Park and immediately upon entering, we saw two great playgrounds and large expanses of grass with people out soaking up the sun. One of the playgrounds was brilliant. It looked like big logs stacked together with nets under it. The boys climbed for close to an hour and were just so happy.
Finally, I just think British culture is a bit closer to where we are. In Paris, everything felt so highbrow - partly due to the high rent neighborhood we were in. Here, it's much more indie and offbeat - again due to the neighborhood, so it fits with our personal ethos more. Now, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade our time in Paris for anything, but for now, we're happy to be in London. Tomorrow, we tackle public transportation to head down to the Tower of London, so I may be singing a different tune tomorrow night!