L*O*N*D*O*N

Flying over the Atlantic for the first time in my life, I had a window seat, and forehead pressed to the double-paned window watched the earth roll under the planes wings. I watched the last island-bound lights of Canada slide away, and then skimmed high over the ocean. With so little light pollution, the stars were pure, crystalline, and studded the sky in more density than I’d ever seen. I was flying under the Big Dipper for a while, flying into the moon at another, and watched the sunrise burn up over a long, curved horizon.

I saw the impossibly deep green of island Ireland and almost laughed aloud. It was lit all around the edges at all the ports, a little country just waking up. The giddiness continued as I flew over the countryside- just like in the old Sherlock Holmes movies, familiar but still so strange. The fields were frosted, maybe faded is a better word, but it was all the colors of drying lavender, that dusty green and purple. No surprise that this is a country that breathes ancient breaths, after seeing the look of the land.

Buckingham Palace fountain, glittering in the early morning light.

I left CLT at approximately 5 p.m. and found myself, ten hours later, in the back of a black cab in LDN, rounding the circle in front of Buckingham Palace. I’m skin-deep in London, and smitten already.

.

Bloomsbury by night above, and Liberty below.

Not quite one week later, still infatuated. I like the sensation of piecing the streets together as I walk them, of connecting the loose strands to one another and netting the city bit by bit. It’s all shifting in my brain still, but with each correctly anticipated street sign and turn, it solidifies. I’ve also gotten used to getting lost; it’s probably what I’m best at.

Leadenhall Market, where part of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley was filmed.

Neal’s Yard on an early Sunday morning.

Above is Neal’s Yard, a tiny courtyard of brilliant color in the middle of London. If you’re in the Seven Dials area, try to find it. According to legend, it was launched by an apothecary, Neal, who was tired of the city’s endless grey, so he bought a little storefront and painted it. As the Yard developed, the trend spread. Now, it’s got a veggie-friendly restaurant, a skate shop, a eco-friendly hair salon, an apothecary, and a variety of studios. It’s a secret that refuses to be kept.

It’s Big Ben, for crying out loud.

That summer camp feeling is wearing off, but I’m not weary yet, not by a long shot. We’ve got it made.

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laissez les bon temps rouler,

the girl

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