Carmen is a compulsive nomad, cuz she’s been travelling since she was 16! She’s on the run even now, while she gives us some advice about London, where she lived for a while. She’s the author of the Travel Blog Carmen EveryWhere and I’m so glad that she accepted to tell me something about ‘her’ London. You must definitely read this post until the end because she’ll tell us something that (maybe) you still don’t know about this amazing city!
Where do you live now and where do you come from?
I’m from Spain. Currently I don’t live anywhere. I’m travelling between Spain and UK until I decide if I go to work to China. I studied and worked in London for 3+ years so I will base my answers in London.
What was more difficult for you to get used to, as a kind of cultural shock, coming from
Coming from a small town in the southeast of Spain, I found it very annoying to spend hours commuting in the London tube. As a student, I worked 2/4 days a week and had to travel about one hour to get to work. Another thing is, working professionals in London tend go to the bar after work for drinks at 6pm! That’s too early for Spaniards. In Spain people normally drink after dinner only.
What are the essential rites you have, linked to this city?
Good question! I love afternoon tea at a classy cafee. It really fills your stomach. I also like to have a jacket potato and a salad for lunch and any british meal at a pub, like Sunday roast, shepherds pie, tuna 100% corn sandwich…
Please, tell me about a place where you love to eat from time to time and what do you like eating in particular?
Hmm… London is heaven for food! So much variety. For English food, any local pub or café will do. For real Italian pasta or pizza, I go to La Pizzica or Franco Manca restaurants, around central London. There I have napolitana, salami or margarita pizza. For Indian food (very popular in London), I go to Tayyabs in Whitechapel. Absolutely delicious and real indian food. I like one of the curries or the biryanis. They have vegetarian options too.
Where you like to have shopping/spare leisure time and why?
I like going to Portobello market to find a bargain sometimes. I love vintage and Portobello is great for that. If I feel in a food mood, I go to Borough Market to buy artisanal baked and dairy goods that I eat at home later. I go to Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square if I’m gonna meet friends. Or if I want to admire the sunset I usually head to Shoutbank with friends. There’e multiple places to enjoy a beautiful sunset in London and I wrote a post about it.
Could you tell me the name – and address is possible – of a place where they serve good wine / beer / cocktails made to art or a typical alcohol drind where you like to go and that is very popular among locals?
I don’t drink but I know two good bar cocktails I’ve been to with friends.
Doon (66, Trafalgar Square London): this bar offers a delicious menu of cocktails to enjoy while while listening to Dj sessions of funk, jazz or Latin Groove. Worth going between 7pm and 9pm (the happy hour), time at which drinks are half price.
Jewel Picaddilly (4-6, Glasshouse Street, London): Unlike many other bars in the city center, this is not your typical London pub. Filled with locals and not many tourists. In addition to good food, there’s an excellent selection of cocktails, great music and an inviting atmosphere with allusions to the fabulous tales of the Arabian Nights.
Could you tell me if there is in London, in your opinion, something that is overrated by tourists?
Harrods, the famous department store in Knightsbridge is very overrated. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t visit. In fact, it makes a nice visit because of the nice posh displays in-store but honestly this is not a British experience. This is not where Londoners shop. Londoners shop at John Lewis, Primark and Marks&Spencer because prices are affordable. Harrods is super expensive and tourist oriented. It’s a nicely decorated huge department store selling from clothes to luxury food but that’s not what Londoners consume in their day to day life.
Do you know any ‘mysterious’ place populated by legends and strange stories?
Yes, London Stone. This is a historical artifact that is behind an iron grille in Cannon Street , causing all kinds of mysteries and intrigues. A very misterious place. It consists of a block of limestone, and is the type that is not naturally found in or around the London area. Geologists have concluded that the nearest source of origin would be in Kent, about 60 kilometers away.
Are there any things that you think is worth visiting that is not part of the common tourist routes?
Yes, Kayaking on Regent’s Canal is a nice outdoors experience when weather permits. Great if you want to escape the stress and noise of the city for a day.