A cup of mulled cider in one hand and steaming bowl of curry in the other, I weaved my way through food stands and crowds in a street market just south of the River Thames.
I sat down to enjoy my street food alone at a green picnic table for four, surrounded by a diverse array of nationalities and ages, all of us warming from the heaters above and the cider in our stomachs.
A young mother wheeled her two young sons in my direction, attempting to juggle their two bratwursts in one hand and her cellphone in the other. Looking around, pleading, she asked if they could sit with me. I smiled a, “yes,” as she situated her boys and answered her phone, trying to give directions to a friend nearby. Five minutes later, with no end to the directions in sight, she told her friend to stay there and she would come to her. She looked at me again and I took my cue, “I can wait with the boys.”
I never caught the boys’ names, but one was six and one was four. And they were the most adorable kids in all of London, probably. The six-year-old and I struck up quite the conversation about what I had seen in London. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: This is my first time in London!
Me: Well, this is my first time in Europe. I’m from the United States, and I’m living in Belgium right now.
Boy: I think London is the best. Did you come on the train that goes alllllllllll the way under the ocean?
Me: I did! You could hardly tell you were under the ocean, which is amazing. I really like London, too! I’ve seen Big Ben, the changing of the guards, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s, Covet Garden. It’s all beautiful. And everything is already so Christmasy here!
Boy: Wait. But you haven’t been on the Eye yet? (As he points to the London Eye, which we could see in the distance.)
Me: Uhm, no. It’s a little pricey!
Boy: (While giving me the most condemning stare a 6-year-old can): But you’ve GOTTA go on the Eye!
Me: How much do you think it costs to go?
Boy: (Holds up bratwurst) Probably like only five of these.
If only, kid. London Eye or no London Eye, we both agreed London was one of the greatest places in the world.
More scenes from London: