After a claustrophobic ride on the tube that sent us all to the edge, we arrived at the Bethnal Green station. In a moment of pure divine goodness, there happened to be a park right by the station. While Jorge got his navigation bearings, Josiah sat on a bench and made friends with a squirrel. In like a matter of five minutes, the squirrel had eaten directly from all the kids' hands....urban wildlife is all kinds of exciting. The kids were delirious...it is already one of their best memories so far, that whole 5 minutes.
We heard Bethnal Green/London Fields/Hackney is/are the new Shoreditch but it mostly reminded us of Brooklyn. I couldn't believe how familiar Hackney felt and how quickly we felt very much at home here. Pocket neighborhoods seem to be our jam.
We met Hannah, our Airbnb host in Hackney at her lovely, lovely flat. It's a million times better to hear about a neighborhood from someone who lives there. She was warm, funny and kind. Prosecco for us and shortbread treats for the kids were waiting in the perfectly efficient kitchen. She let us know which local pub was good for what and when. Pro tip- avoid the Dolphin unless it's past 2 am and you are already very buzzed. This kind host never blinked an eye as Lyra promptly took her shoes off and followed her around like a puppy dog through the full tour of the house. ...and I could have listened to her say "brilliant" for forever. Airbnb never disappoints.
At the end of the longest day ever, Jorge and I wandered Hackney and got some Franco Manca- www.francomanca.co/uk the most serious wood fire sourdough pizza....oh my, so, so delicious...and the cider options were fantastic- Crate Brewery Cider was just perfect. www.cratebrewery.com
We crashed hard and fast...happy to be in a home, even if it wasn't ours, together.
Day 2- early
On Saturday morning, the girls and I set out to find E5 Bakehouse - www.e5bakehouse.com - an artisan bakery and coffee shop in London Fields. I always imagine that we are super cool and kinda fit in when we go places but we were WAY too cheery and excited and totally stuck out like eager tourists...the locals looked like, "OH MY LORD, the tourists found our magical bread, the party is over now. " ....we didn't even care though, the wood fire bread, croissants and pastries were worth EVERYTHING. I can't tell you what whole food made by people who obviously care deeply about their craft does for my soul. Lyra left a sticker, hope it won over the brits, if not, we'll keep tryin', anything for kindness and bread.
I am slowly learning the magic of travel is all the little things that happen inbetween...the conversations while you are lost, the hand holding, the discoveries of everything new, the bus rides, the uninterrupted time together.
markets, more magical food, shows, eyes, and bubbles tomorrow...sleep well friends.