I realized too late that Easter weekend – four fat days off from work and duty – was coming up so early, and was going to be so freezing. The reason why most of the Londoners run away, seeking few extra degrees in other equally cold parts of Europe. I didn’t plan anything, and these four days ended up being fulfilling and rewarding. Why? Because I decided to be a tourist in my own town. And what do tourists do? Go to museums, restaurants, long walks, shop like there is no tomorrow, indulge in treats and use public transport.
Museum: I finally went to see Roy Lichtenstein at Tate Modern, despite the fact that I have been recommending the exhibition to absolutely everyone. People usually rely on me for arty tips. Now that I have seen it, I am relieved. The show is awesome, and gave me the opportunity to brush up few notions of contemporary art history and understand more about the role of Leo Castelli and the NY art scene from the 60s to the 80s.
Restaurant: I tried Honey and Co in Fitzrovia for brunch and A. Wong in Pimlico for a dim sum dinner – even if dim sum should be served for lunch. I enjoyed both, but the first one definitely wins the award for the most friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere.
Public transport: I finally used the Ginger Line for more than one stop. If you are wondering what it is, it is the newish London Overground line, which connects north, south, east and west London, taking you around in a circle. It is not the fastest way to get around, but I found it rather pleasurable. It is orange, but ginger sounds more fun. I stopped at Shoreditch High street, where I had a salt beef bagel on Brick Lane, followed by a great coffee at Allpress, and then headed to Hampstead, where I shed some of the calories from the bagel thanks to a freezing walk on the Heath. There I realised – once again – that I could very happily live in that patch of London. It is not a chance that pretty intelligent people – from Freud to John Keats – called Hampstead their home in the past.
Shopping: I bought few bits of girly stuff, some nice food and wine, but the Lord managed to bag a bargain getting a very good suit in Jermyn Street, despite the fact that we headed there as he was looking for a winter hat. Impulsive purchase, I love them. Sometimes they are the best.
Food and treats: for once, London seemed quite sleepy (so rare) – and those friends who were still in town and who usually have their entire weekend booked up – were all pretty relaxed. So we decided to gather together and indulge in a big Italian Easter lunch. Quite an eclectic one, mari e monti, with fish, meat and various culinary traditions all mixed together, from spring rolls to torta pasqualina, from rice with mussels to cheese focaccia.
I took the time to sloth around on my couch for a few hours, discovered House of Cards – BBC edition from 1990 – and the recent one with Kevin Spacey and got totally hooked, went running in the park, fighting against a freezing and evil wind. Why does it always blow against me?
Quite a good effort to shake off my Italian habits, where the weekend means meeting up at a café or restaurant, to sit there for hours, or make your way to someone’s house to put together something to eat while chatting of everything and nothing.
I think that’s the thing I miss most about my former life: coffee places and professional lazing about, without the constant urgency of going out, do things, see places, try food and drinks and be aware of what is going on.
So back to work today, slowly now, very slowly. Thankfully there is still some chocolate knocking around the office, which will keep me going.