Posts in Category: Wanderings

Heading Home

Spring has finally come to England, and with it, spring break. It’s a much needed vacation from lesson planning, teaching, paperwork and detentions. I’m very lucky because as well as having two weeks off, in a few days I am headed home to the states to see family, friends and furry loved ones for the first time in 17 months. Saying goodbye to St Paul’s and clouds and hello to sunshine and prairie grasses!

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 19.42.44

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

I’ve been meaning to post about my trip to Copenhagen since the new year, but somehow January got rushed along in a storm of school, meetings, lesson planning and life, and my good intentions were swept along with it. I haven’t even gone through most of my photographs – and I took a lot of photographs – so these are just the handful I put up on my Instagram feed, but I wanted to get them posted before it’s February and I’m already thinking of my next trip.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.36.56

In spite of the fact that it was December and quite dark and cold, Copenhagen was a beautiful city to visit. Everywhere you look is colour, warmth, and small touches that showed a true appreciation for beauty and comfort. The city is ridiculously pedestrian friendly, and in spite of readily available bikes, I found it easy to walk everywhere.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.36.33 Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.37.21

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.38.11 Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.35.57

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 20.09.15 Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 20.11.14

My friend Clare traveled with me for the first two days, and we had fun visiting the Royal Library and their crazy-hypnotic exhibition, climbing the Rundetarn (Round Tower) and looking out over the whole city, wandering around Tivoli and enjoying silly rides and stunning fireworks, going on a boat tour of Nyhavn and the city, having a quick look at Christiania, and just generally looking about the city. She only had the weekend, so I spent my last two days in Copenhagen were spent going back to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, which I had loved, joining in a German tour of the Christianborg Slot, visiting the harbour again for a last dangle of legs over the water while I enjoyed another fabulous cup of coffee, wandering through the Latin Quarter and popped into the university for a nosy peek, stopping in at the Danish Postal Museum, and spending far too much time browsing shops and falling in love with various designers. The hotel had an amazing complex of indoor swimming pools, including a heated one, but I fell in love with the sauna and spent a good part of the mornings contemplating blonde wood while I slowly turned to heated mush. It was fabulous.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.46.58 Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.39.22

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.39.09 Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.37.50

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 20.10.16 Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 20.10.29 to go back to Denmark again and next time, venture further out, possibly even enjoy a bike or short walking tour in the summer. I’m looking forward to more great coffee and chocolate pastry, brightly coloured patterns, berries trailing along stone walls, the sound of seagulls, and seeing more gentle lights everywhere I look.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.42.24 Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.42.51

Renegade Craft Fair

After a rather hectic week back at school, I went into London to meet a couple of friends for the Renegade Craft Fair. It wasn’t the most welcoming morning; all I could tell when I popped my head out was that it was cold and bloody dark, and by the time I got into Waterloo, it looked like the scene in Harry Potter where the weather changes as the dementors board the train. I considered hiding indoors and having a quick coffee at Starbucks before I realised how feeble that was, and I headed out into the downpour. I looked at market stalls, popped into bookstores warm from the steam of generators, had a warm and delicious caff breakfast where the beans slopped into the fried egg and mushrooms with a delicious kind of rightness, and where my tea cup was constantly refilled with the kind of tea you can stand a spoon up in. I even poked my nose into iKnit London, which I haven’t been to for a few years now.

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 08.09.38 Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 08.09.22

Eventually I hopped back into the station and made my way to the East End to meet Jane and Kat at the Old Truman Brewery where the fair was being held. It’s an amazing space, even if they were not still selling beer (or, in fact, any beverages in the hall…would have been perfect if they’d had some tea or coffee, and they would have made a killing).

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 08.09.04 vintique_image

Even without the coffee, though, the craft fair was splendid. There was such a huge variety of artists, and all of them with such lovingly presented tables and goods. I had gone with the good intention of buying unique Christmas presents for family and friends. What I went home with was all for me me me. But my spot of selfish shopping is fine, because I also took home a selection of business cards and can order quite a few of these things through Etsy or Folksy. And I can also have shipped some of the more delicate things that would have been a complete faff to try to get home on the Tube and train, like the amazingly beautiful lamp shade I covet like mad for my little flat.

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 08.08.24 Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 08.08.40


When we’d exhausted the hall, we stepped across to Brick Lane for some much needed caffeine and a sit-down. The tea shop was held in a kind of antique/junk shop full of curious things. There was much trying on of hats, and I resisted the urge to pose with the silly mannequins who were shaped like Beyonce. We also popped into Spitalfields’ Market for a quick lunch and a browse of the market stalls. It’s a fantastic space, full of both vintage treasures and homemade goodies, and I think we all ended up getting something we had not planned on, and in Jane’s case, a tiny Lego version of herself, complete with purple hair.

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 08.07.42Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 09.33.12

This was my first trip to Brick Lane, and I’m going to have to go back soon. The street was full of men trying to entice customers into their curry houses, the street venders were selling various foods and mulled wine, and there was at least one shop crowded with amazing-looking bolts of fabric. I’d also like a closer look at Christ Church Spitalfields, which was striking in both size and severity. Definitely time to get out of central London and explore the East End.


Signs of Summer

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately and haven’t been out much. But while I’ve been hibernating inside, lovely things are happening to the bushes and trees outside. The Cambridge birds and squirrels must eat rather well.

7182b93cf7ad11e2920622000ae9085f_7 aedca20cf7ad11e2aff022000a1f90b2_7

Signs in a foreign land

I know what this means now, but I’m a bit sad about that. I liked it much better when it looked like a sign for wizards, or for almost-wizards with magical flying motorbikes. “Caution, Muggles below!”

photo copy 4


On my last look-about day in London, I met up with my friend Eleanor in Westminster. I was planning on going to Choral Evensong at St Martin-in-the-Fields, so we decided to meet for tea at the Cafe in the Crypt before. There really should be more occasions for meeting people in crypts.

photo copy 3 photo copy 5

It was beautifully atmospheric. We both got the afternoon tea and my scone was so large that I couldn’t finish the very nice cherry sponge cake. After poking about the crypt and galleries, and being shooed away from a private door, we decided to wander to Trafalgar Square and catch-up next to the fountains and the lions. We wandered down to Eleanor’s tube stop, stopping on the way to see a statue of one of her ancestors. After she’d left, I wandered back, stopping at Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, saying hello to the statue of Churchill watching over Parliament.

photo copy 10photo copy 8

Sadly, I didn’t spy either Holmes or the Prime Minister.

 photo copy 6

photo copy 7

I did spot Big Ben, an old friend. I stayed to hear his chime bells. It’s impossible for me to hear them without remembering the scene from the Betsy-Tacy books, where Julia is in London and sends back the words of the chime to her family.

photo copy 9

And I spotted a monument that had not been in Westminster the last time I wandered there, one to all the women who served in WWII. A beautiful and moving monument to some truly incredible women.