A football (Not soccer) pilgrimage.. part 2

When I talked about launching a travel blog to some of my closest friends and my sister, everyone LOVED the idea. I was so excited at the beginning hearing that everyone thinks that I can actually write (I know I’m no Hemingway but just keep up with me!), then I thought “go back to earth Abenti (little girl in arabic), you’re a market researcher and you know that these guys are the most biased sample you’ve ever used for a study!!” But then I realized that I have too many things to say so I decided to launch it anyway, and it seems like you guys love having your eligibility for market research questioned because you liked it! You actually liked my first post!  That’s why I’ll carry on with this insanity and here is another one 😉

I’m sure I already told you  how much I was fascinated by London before even visiting it. Weeks before my trip , apart from the football game I wanted to watch, I made a quite detailed research on things to do and places to go to once there, especially that I only had 5 days for that. Museums, parks, famous districts, royalty stuff… everything was planned in a very detailed schedule on Excel (Yes I like it when everything is under control…But that’s another story). So, as I said I had everything planned, but we don’t always follow plans do we 😉 , that’s why I selected some of my top favourite moments in London, moments that weren’t part of the plan and that made my experience even more memorable.

–       My afternoon spent drowned in the “London Beatles store” and “It’s only rock & Roll” store: So I’m a big old school classic rock fan and yes I think that all the great songs were launched before the 90’s, so when I came across this small store called “The Beatles store” and on the other side of the street another small store called “It’s only Rock & Roll” I was as excited as Carrie Bradshaw on a black Friday! These little cute stores are located on Baker Street, in the same street you can find The Sherlock Holmes museum and a few blocks away from them the famous “Madame Tussauds”. In the first store you could find everything you can imagine Beatles’ branded: T shirts, bags, mugs, post cards, credit card holders, pens, stickers… The 2nd one was more exciting: Queen, The rolling stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who… they were all there, you just had to choose your favourite band (I know not an easy question) then the store manager would show you all the branded items you could buy, I was like a kid in a candy store and trust me I wanted ALL the candy!! I loved everything about these two “Ali Baba taverns”: the nice Asian owners, the music (obviously 🙂 ), the items, the fact that they were so small that two people can’t fit in the same aisle at the same time (perfect to be the first to grab all the good stuff and never let them go!!).

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The Beatles store on Baker Street
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“It’s only Rock & Roll” store

–       London rock walk: When I usually travel I never enrol to conventional touristic tours because I think they limit trips to a mandatory schedule. But this one was different: a Rock walk! I came across this small billboard on a street about a rock walk attraction where they take you to places where famous rockers played, recorded a song or shot a video… You just choose the itinerary you would like to do, pay 9 pounds and you’re all ready to travel in time! My choice took me to SOHO, the heart of Rock, urban and night life in the 70’s: the Jazz club where Jimmi Hendrix gave his last live performance, the pub where The Rolling Stones first rehearsed or the theatre where Jimmi Hendrix and Pink Floyd performed in the same month.. I’m telling you I was born too late!!

–       My long walks in the “West End” discovering its theatres and listening to Queen’s discography as background music: London’s West End is famous for its huge number of theatres; it’s actually the Broadway of London. During my stay, I used to walk around this district every night singing along with my music player “I want to break free” and I was pretty sure I would find a great play or a famous musical to attend before heading back to the hostel, and when you are in the UK during Christmas break all the most famous classical stories are in theatres: Dirty Dancing, Billy Elliot, “We will rock you” Queen tribute, MJ tribute, Romeo & Juliet…etc.

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Musicals! Musicals everywhere!

–       Talking and discussing with the people: Londoners are kind of impossible people to define. They’re all different from each other, and each one has different manners and ways to behave, which makes every conversation, from the old lady in a bus to the Chelsea stadium tour guide, funny and a whole learning experience. What I love the most about them is how being all unique and different makes them such a great group overall.

–       Big Ben: I know you guys might think that it’s so cliché, but standing in front of it live was one of my favourite moments because it made me realize that I really was wandering in the streets of London! (Yeah as if the stamp on my passport or the 8 hours flight weren’t enough!!), but I have to say that it’s pretty impressive at night though 🙂

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Big Ben! 🙂

–       Arsenal & Chelsea stadiums: you thought I wasn’t going to talk about that didn’t you? Well I will, because I loved every bit of my visits to these stadiums: The entrance of the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal stadium which is also the most expensive one in Premier League), how I almost touched the Champions League trophee (Almost because they would’ve kicked me out if I did!), the tour guide in Stamford Bridge who was convinced that I was from Brazil and who insisted to take a picture of me with the lockers of the Brazilian players of Chelsea: Luiz, Oscar, Willian and Ramires (you will definitely convert to football with me I’m telling you!), the look on this Italian kid’s face  when the tour guide told him that he was sitting at Pirlo’s spot when Juventus came to play against Chelsea in the Champions league (and the hate look I made for that kid when I heard that!), and what I loved even more is this passion that’s bringing together people from all over the world around a green rectangle and 22 players on a pitch trying to put a ball into a net (ok I agree that’s not the nicest way to describe things but you know what I mean!)

Isn't she gorgeous?!
Isn’t she gorgeous?!

Finally, even if I visited many of London’s famous attractions: Westminster abbey, Hyde Park, Saint James park, Tate Modern, Covent Garden, Kensington Palace, the crazy eclectic Camden… These six moments brought together will draw the image of London that I still have till now, Five months later.

Cheers to the places we yet have to go to!

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