There’s no simple way to introduce what it feels like living by a river of historic significance during turbulent times.
Knowing the nooks and cracks that made history, the disheveled justifications, a sense of hopelessness overcomes. The loss of faith in people to do the right thing, not because church or God tells them to, but because their gut knows what’s wrong.
The philosophers will debate plato and the animal that gets trained or the trained animal, I think. They toss the coin on complexities, and some are inspirational, other word play.
The them and us play stands, the identity politics. Yet we are associated creatures on recognition and language, of validity.
The histories flood back. With the tide. They are made, manufactured, manuscripted, and some translate in plain English, speaking for the blossoms.
Canoe of the Savage Islands: Hudson’s Strait. Page 63 from William Edward Parry’s Journal of a Second Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific; Performed in the years 1821-22-23 in His Majesty’s Ships “Fury” and “Hecla. Drawn by Captain Lyon, Royal Navy. Edward Finden, engraver. Collections of the […]
Athens is known for its grittier side. In 2022, I’ve discovered a newer slightly cleaner version of the city I knew from the 90s.
For sure, graffiti has exploded around the city and can be found in almost every surface visible to the eye.
Beyond the traditional football slogans, the latest street art is artier and talks to a new generation’s appetite to make a political statement.
From small notes, to IPAs, quirky logos, to beetroot cakes and fish tavernas, Athens is no longer limited by its suffocating random architecture but energized by a transnational vibe melting all that comes, goes and remains, in a true South Mediterranean crossroad vibes of its geography.
With life full back to normal in London, the choice of places to try can be overwhelming.
That’s particularly true for those who tip their toes in the sea of options and perhaps are looking for good tasting treats in not too crowded settings.
The following five cafes show how can you be in the know, eat and drink well at cool spots, not break the bank and leave with the appetite to return for more.
1. CINNAMON CAFE, Wapping:
On Cinamon Street, facing an original crane glad warehouse in the still very much cobblestones Wapping, the Cinammon Cafe offers sweet vegan treats and tasty cold brews amongst other flavours that get regular 5 star ratings.
With old wooden school desks and chairs, on a suntrap of a side street, against yellow bricked walls, Cinammon Cafe is a very special and warm corner of the London world to visit.
Coffee brews and vegan cakes for £5 for the lot.
103 Wapping Ln, London E1W 2RW
2. 21 WEST, Smithfield:
Wall to wall windows give way for views of the Barbican towers from this chilled out disco vibing cafe/kitchen. With a typical clean white and beech furniture and light green plants, 21 West provides a sacred feel like escape from the rich backdrop of Smithfield Market, the Georgian town places and brutalist architecture of the East. Perhaps a bit pricier than your average trendy looking kitchen, and with a good reason for it, the beet oat latte and vegan pistachio cake were out of this world.
Right from the peak of summer through to the deep winter, ARTFIX is a hide out on a side alley from the busyness of Greenwich Market itself. It has revolving art on the wall, and attracts regularly a unusual/ethical/green/political crowd. The chai latte is to die for as much as the super comfy sofas whilst you’re people watching locals and visitors alike strolling through the market. Management is student friendly offering discounts and a quiet study room at the back. I love this place because I’ve personally had many memorable moments here working away, bumbing into and meeting friends. I am a big fan and pleased Greenwich got this uniquely colourful calm addition to its cafe portfolio.
4. DOCK Cafe, Blackwall:
In one of the new developments next to Blackwall Dlr, right by the bus terminal, you’ll find Dock Coffee across the plaza, next to the playground. What’s special about this place is the delicious Vietnamese sandwiches (bah-min), coffees, friendly service and we’ll brewed lattes in addition to the usual sugary snacks you’ll find in other brew serving joints. I love this place because it’s a suntrap, has a cozy upstairs space and can always find savoury food.
Unit 9 Elligood Court, 21 Goddard Way, London E14 0RG
5. GELATO A CASA, Republic, East India
Homemade gelato in all delicious and non traditional, vegan and for doggie flavours, Greek baklava and sweets, tsoureki and mean protein shakes and coffee. Gelato a Casa is known for the 5 star ratings, uber friendly hosts and beautiful surroundings. In the summer you can bask under the sun surrounded by greenery and view of the dock. In the winter, the lit trees and cozy passage offers a cool spot to chill out in the evening. They are open til late which is an extra bonus. Try once and you’ll be hooked.
One thing is for certain. Summer in the UK has been a super mini version of hot summers we got used to in the past two years.
By August, and a very wet one, I begun deliberating when the next two hour slot of timid sun would pop its head through the clouds. Even on the lucky occasions work wasn’t tying me to the desk and I caught some of it, the cooling breeze and the inconsistency of it made the decision much easier than expected. I needed out.
After two years of no international travel and no proper holiday, I had to go.
So in all good pandemic manner of things, here I was looking at green and amber options.
Still too out of habit, Amber became the elephant in the room.. Will anyone notice and switch or do I risk it?
And no, my money and time were too precious to gamble so I made the safe bet.
And what would have I known if I knew?
Stunning green covered volcanic mountains dipping straight into the sea, accompanied by plenty of flowy waters splashing on the roads from high up the dark and rocky walls.
In the Atlantic, sort of Portuguese sort of north African, Madeira was the humid medicine I didn’t know existed so close to home.
Mild temperatures, sun and warm waters make up a perfect hike to the beach, swim and hike up mix.
Locals are warm. Daily life is super affordable to many other European hotpots and I can’t think of a single thing that I miss.
If not convinced yet, take a look.
Plenty of cute little or the larger kind of surprises too
Of course, the local fresh produce offers loads of culinary delights.
Faith, culture and iconic representation:
Whether early in the morning to start the day, or in the afternoon for a little pick me up, there’s another place where locals will be seen religiously. The cafe.
And of course, lunch on, there’s always time to taste the local ‘poncha’
I believe the Madeiran experience is made up of hikes, coffee, levada walks, fish dishes and poncha. For tourists and locals, living the moment is all about these flavours.
With the subtropical climate blending it all together, the Madeiran experience makes an irresistible ‘poncha’.