Running Around London

Borough Market

I’m in a good karma swirl at the moment. Got good luck whirling around my feet so much that I think there might be just enough to lift me off the ground and fly me to an awesome new place in my crazy life… Pending such lofty adventures, thus far this month, my luck has included receiving a present of a plane ticket to London, having an awesome cousin (elder and wiser, of course!) who lives 5 minutes walk from St. Paul’s Cathedral and having 7 whole days to run around London doing whatever I liked! Big fun.

A lot of doing what I liked involved heart-stopping amounts of coffee and voracious reading.
A lot of doing what I liked involved heart-stopping amounts of coffee and voracious reading.

My beautiful, funny and all-round wonderful cousin Aislinn lives in the Barbican with her equally beautiful, funny, all-round wonderful husband Tony and they were kind enough to welcome me into their home for the week. The location is amazing and walking distance from a lot of big tourist attractions, like the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Smithfield market. There was a LOT of rain while I was there however, so I got myself a 7 day travelpass and took the tube wherever I could. I also just love trains so the rain was just a convenient excuse.

London people doing London things...
London people doing London things…

First thing I did on my very first day? Run. Running in London was honestly the thing I was most excited about doing on this holiday and I had mapped out a few different runs before I left home. Unfortunately, it was lashing rain on my first 2 runs but I was too excited to really let it put me off. Also unfortunate was that I didn’t actually manage to navigate my first 3 runs very well and despite my many attempts, I never actually found my way to the Olympic Park 😦 However, on the flipside, I did get to explore lots of Hackney, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and some other areas!

Kensington Palace looking splendid against a perfect blue sky!
Kensington Palace looking splendid against a perfect blue sky!
Pretty view of the pretty lake from Kensington Palace. Kate and Wills' view if you like...
Pretty view of the pretty lake from Kensington Palace. Kate and Wills’ view if you like…

As I am currently training for the Dublin Marathon in October, I needed to do a 17 mile long run while I was in London so I did this early on Sunday morning. One thing I did find in London (anywhere…) was the incredible volume and density of people on footpaths everywhere, which made running tricky. The obvious solution was to run earlier in the day… in theory. But because I was on my holidays… I was sometimes lazy 😉 However, I really wanted to enjoy my long run so I headed out early and tuned into English radio. I had the best run. I ran down past St. Paul’s towards the Thames, then turned right to run all along the river before turning down Whitehall at Westminster Bridge, onto the Mall, past Buckingham Palace, around Hyde Park, passing by Kensington Palace, before heading back towards the river and running back down the other side towards Tower Bridge. I saw more on this run than I probably did on the entire trip! It was a perfect morning for a run and I just loved it.

Met the Horse Guards doing their thing while I was bouncing down the Mall...
Met the Horse Guards doing their thing while I was bouncing down the Mall…

Afterwards, I went for brunch with Aislinn in Spittalfields’ Market. Naturally, we had a good wander around all of the stalls afterwards… and got in some good quality coffee and cake along the way 😉

I had to take a pic of this. Best spelling of my name EVER!
I had to take a pic of this. Best spelling of my name EVER!

I won’t bore you with everything I did while I flitted around London but my favourites would have to be the Borough Market, the Natural History Museum (if you like dinosaurs, this is the absolute business), Selfridge’s food hall (and Harrods’ while you’re at it…) and the Science Gallery.

The Chocolate Library at Selfridge's. In a hyphenated word: jaw-dropping.
The Chocolate Library at Selfridge’s. In a hyphenated word: jaw-dropping.

I also really enjoyed the National Gallery and finally got to see the real Sunflowers and some other Van Gogh masterpieces, along with so many beautiful Monet and Turner paintings. However, I was seriously bummed to find out that none of the Caravaggios, Vermeers or Goyas were on display, which were the main reason for my going there. The last time I was in London, these were also all in hiding so it was annoying to find that I would miss them again on my second attempt 😦 I guess it’s just a fine excuse to plan another visit in the future 😉

Bread stall at the Borough Market, absolutely irresistible.
Bread stall at the Borough Market, absolutely irresistible.

Needless to say, I drank a LOT of coffee while in London and at every available opportunity. There was some good stuff in there.

Notes' long black - strong but gorgeously mellow aftertaste. Really good.
Notes’ long black – strong but gorgeously mellow aftertaste. Really good.

I also got in some tasty grub while I was wandering the streets.

Peruvian granola, blueberries and ginger yogurt at Pachamama, James St. Good stuff.
Peruvian granola, blueberries and ginger yogurt at Pachamama, James St. Good stuff.

Aislinn and Tony were the perfect hosts, looking after me, feeding me (and filling me full of delicious bubbles….) but also giving me the freedom to do whatever I liked, so thank you guys! Oh, and I will be coming back 😉

Starbuck Paella 2
Biggest paella ever at the Borough Market. Smelt amazing,
Borough Cheese
More cheese than you could imagine at Borough.
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