We like to walk through the various areas of the greater London area. One of the best walks was from the subway station in “Mile End” (Eastern London), along Regent’s Canal, to Islington. We went through old industrial areas, an old landfill, through the beautiful Victoria Park and ended up in the posh area of Islington.
During our walk we saw a great deal of modern blocks of various architectural quality, side by side with houseboats, boardwalk environment and small, green spots with grass and trees. Everywhere there were trendy cafés where the young and hip ad-agency people, artists and “creative types” were sitting with their iPads, checking e-mails, or a copy of “The Observer” as they sipped their organic juices and coffees. One of the things that really fascinates me about London is the fact that there is so much history. Originally founded by the Romans about 2000 years ago, the “current London” is literally built upon the ruins of millennia and ever so often remains from the past, even of a significant, historic value, are found and being excavated. In medieval times London developed into one of the most important cities in Europe and the list of brutal, reckless kings that have ruled England from here is long! In the older areas of the city you find many buildings dating back 500 years or more. As already mentioned, several pubs are centuries old, and many of them make quite an effort to inform you just HOW old they actually are, and which prominent, historic figures that have come and gone over the years. It IS actually exciting! Imagine to sit by the same table as William Shakespeare, drinking a pint of lager. There are quite a few arguments about which pub that can rightfully claim the title as “London’s oldest pub”. No one knows for sure. But there are a handful of pubs in the central part of the city that have had their license at least since the 1660´s. No matter which one is the oldest, I find that rather impressive. I do not think that there will be many of the present day “shopping street pubs” around 350 years from now. But in the center of London they live and work “in the middle of history” every day!
Not having booked a table on a Saturday, we were lucky enough to find a table here. Hawksmoor specializes in steak and it is the ultimate carnivore’s dream. The meat is supplied by the Ginger Pig, a well-regarded producer. Steaks are charged by weight, for example, T-bone £7.50 per 100g, sirloin £8.50 per 100g. I was with two of my friends, Claire and Zorba. Zorba’s steak tasted smoky and delicious. He enjoyed it, although he said it wasn’t the best ever steak of his life. But still very, very good. I went for two starters instead. I loved the sound of them both and couldn’t choose between the pork belly ribs and the young beetroot and pea salad with goats cheese and tarragon. The ribs were sticky, fatty and oh so tasty. The beetroot salad was really yummy, and it felt good to eat vegetables again.
Nearby places to see: If you're in the area, it might also be worth checking out some other nearby Cotswold villages. Chipping Campden and Broadway are really nice places to wander around, and I've heard good things about Bourton-on-the-Water, too. You can check the local bus schedules at Travel Lines SW, although it's usually much easier to drive, if you have the option! Or, why not hire a bike in the spring? You can hire them for £15 a day atStratford Bike Hire or from £7 at the café on the Greenway - just enter the Greenway and look for the café inside an old train carriage.For those of you visiting this part of the UK for the first time, it might be worth also visiting Bibury, "the most beautiful village in England" and one used in a few films, namely Stardust and Bridget Jones's Diary!