The Cities and Everything Else

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I’ve spent the past two weeks playing tour guide with three of my friends, who came to visit from across the pond.  It was a very great two weeks that started off with live music in Camden, and ended with a live piano session in a tiny little place of Montmartre.

As I’m a big fan of nostalgia and memories and the feelings accompanied with them every time I remember, here’s a recap:

Nights spent in the Lyric:  The lyric is probably one of the first bars I stepped in when I moved to London.  I immediately fell in love with it because of the very cheap house gin and tonics, and the old alternative music was also a bonus.  We spent a few evenings there, for some reason, meeting australians.

Day date with Amy in Greenwich and in the Planetarium:  This was probably one of my favourite days.  Amy and I took the boat to Greenwich and spent the day walking and taking random photographs in the Greenwich park, amusing ourselves at the meridian line of longitude and visiting the Astronomy centre, as well as the Planetarium.  We then ended the day with a shared vegetarian vietnamese meal over a bottle of wine, in a restaurant called Saigon.  It was lovely.

greenwich

Night Ghost tour of Edinburgh:  Edinburgh is a beautiful city, I’ve been before to visit a friend who was at the time living there, and spent 10 full days.  Still, it was somehow not enough.  And so, when I came back this time, I fell in love with it all over again.  Amy and I went for a ghost tour, and we visited places I have not seen before.  It was a very informative tour, and we made some new friends with whom we spent an evening with in the pub having far too many whisky shots.

edinburgh

Stalking Liam Gallagher:  I’m not sure how “stalking” Liam Gallagher became such a mission, considering none of us was a die-hard Oasis fan, but somehow it became the theme of the trip for the last two days in London.  It all started when my flatmate got a picture-text from her coworker who happens to know Mr.Gallagher.  It was a picture of Liam in a pub and the text said “this is happening right now.”  We then rushed from the West End to Kentish town to make our way to that pub.  Instead of finding Liam, we found a Leonardo Dicaprio lookalike who pretty much gave us the impression that he wanted to sell our liver on the black market.  Good times.

The next day, we went to Hampstead (I’m in Hampstead now, because there is something a tad Parisian about it in my head..) to take a stroll in front of his house.  No, no we are not creepy at all.

liam

An Afternoon in Camera Obscura: One of the funnest places I have ever visited!  We spent hours in there, I cannot even begin to list all it has to offer, but I will say that it is definitely the “big brother” of Edinburgh.  We could have probably spent an even longer while in there.  Some of the highlights include:  the camera obsucra presentation where you can pretty much “stalk” what people in the city streets are doing, having our faces converted to our chimpanzee roots (mine’s below), filming a video to our “songs” in this light tunnel, staring at two images for literally 40 minutes until I finally saw what I was supposed to see in 3D, and I swear, it was like nothing ever before!  We also got some very beautiful views of the city on the “observatory” terrace.

co1

co2

Writing songs:  One thing Amy and I both have in common, and never get tired of, is making up lyrics.  Mostly, everyone else around us gets annoyed, but we have spent the two weeks making up songs, rehearsing them on the streets of London, and they are quite good songs, may I add!

Wonderwall playing everywhere:  I think it kind of became the song of the trip in my eyes, but then again Wonderwall is everyone’s song for everything, isn’t it!?  Amy and I danced / sang to it in pretty much every bar we visited during those two weeks.

Long walks through Paris:  This was my 4th time in Paris, but for some reason, as much as I loved it, it was the first time I truly fell in love with Paris.  I loved the tranquility of the streets, the conversations, warmth and sarcastic puns by les Français, I loved the pains au chocolat and the lack of bureaucracy when ordering from a café or a restaurant.

paris1

The last evening listening to piano in Paris: While strolling through Montmartre, I had to stop to use the ladies.  I entered this really cute crêperie / piano bar.  It was tiny, it was quasi-crammy, but the man who worked there was kind and friendly, and so were the only two other guys who were standing in front of the bar and smoking a cigarette.  Hours later, after we had our meal, I suggested we go to that piano bar to check it out.  When we entered, the two guys who were previously outside smoking a cigarette, were now behind a piano and a guitar playing covers.  Amy and I fell in love with the piano player’s hands and voice.  We quickly became the back vocals, and spent an evening singing loudly and badly to english and french songs with them.  We kept in touch with the piano player, who happens to have a released CD and to be a France mini-celebrity.  A friend of ours and the piano man below:

Piano

Visiting Amélie locations: It’s a movie I’ve seen at least 10 times, and it’s a movie I could see 10 times more.  Luckily for us, we were in an apartment in the heart of Montmartre, and so, coming across le café des deux moulains and le marché colignon wasn’t a chore.

colignon

All the random people we met: My favourite part of travelling has always been meeting new people. We met so many characters, some we kept in touch with, and others who are now part of our stories.  And I guess connecting with humanity is far more precious and memorable than any famous landmark or tourist attraction you may ever see!

friends

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