The end and reflection

Another A-Z challenge has come to an end. This was my second year participating and I’m really warming to this exercise. I love to find new creative blogs and see how other people have built up their posts and how they keep up the interest throughout the month. I am very impressed with some bloggers and found myself coming back for more.

Since last year, I have started to write my blog regularly and making sure I am always on top of my post topics.

This year, I will focus on reading and commenting on other people’s blogs as well. Something I often feel I should do, but often don’t take the time to do. Since this is an exercise in receiving as well as giving, I did try this year to visit even more blogs and leave comments, even though sometimes they were very short and perhaps not the most insightful. I will try to keep this up throughout the year.

I have already begun the plan for next year’s theme, wanting to stay on top of my posts and plan them well in advance. Those last weeks before April truly flies. What it is you will have to wait until next year’s theme reveal. Do stop by in between though!

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

The extra bits: Read about the guide that inspired this year’s A-Z challenge here

Want to read more? Did you miss a day? You can find all posts here.

Want to read other blogs who took part in this challenge? Find out more here

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Z

It is the last post of this challenge and I can’t fill it. There are no streets in London I have had the reason to visit that start with the letter Z I have searched high and low for this elusive street, on every thinkable website and my trusty A-Z guide, but alas this post will sit empty, like this street I once walked past in the busy finance district.

Z - empty street

It amazes me that in a city that has a larger population then the whole of Sweden on a totally normal day, when life go on all around, there are streets like this that are absolutely abandoned.

The last extra bits: Have I missed out your favourite street? Is there a street I have to visit to fulfil my London experience? I’m waiting eagerly for your last recommendations.

Z

Want to read more? You can find all previous posts here

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York Street

York Street - sign

The Grand Old Duke of York of the song has a street in London named after him, or maybe it is after the Yorkshire town. This particular street is located in Marlybone and I have reason to walk down it every Thursday evening as it lead me to the Swedish church in London, where every Thursday I sing in the Swedish church choir.

Living abroad on my own for most of my adult life I am not usually fussed about not being able to speak my native language or even visiting very often. I mostly feel like I’m a citizen of the world, but I have started to cherish the time I spend on a Thursday evening, speaking Swedish and being as Swedish as I can. It relaxes my brain in a way that many other things I do don’t. Then of course the act of singing in itself helps sprout endorphins around the body (don’t ask me for a more physical explanation because I wouldn’t be able to give you one).

No matter how tired I am, half way through my working week, I leave the choir energised and fuelled up, ready to handle a busy weekend. So whenever I walk down York Street I know I’m walking towards something good.

The other bits:  Other ways to boost my energy – visiting my local library and browse the shelves. What do you do when you’re in need of an emotional energy boost?

20170323_120355

Latest book haul from my local library!

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite Y street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

Y

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

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Charing X Road

X - Charing X road sign

I admit this is a bit of cheating, Charing X Road is spelled Charing Cross Road but I was getting desperate. In all the years I have lived in London, I have yet to run in to a road that start with the letter X. I hope you forgive me for this creative use of the letter.

Charing Cross road runs straight through the West End and Theatre Land, and thus is lined with theatres and tourists, but my favourite part of this street is the book boxes opposite the cross roads to China town. There are a few antiquarians along this stretch and though I don’t particularly are interested in old book, I do love a bargain for relatively new fiction books. Last time I stopped to supposedly ‘browse,’ I ended up with seven new books to my collection.

Further up the road is the newly renovated Foyle’s flagship store, which was one of the first stores I went to during my first visit to London (after seeing The Tower). I still have the book I bought there The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory.

The extra bits: Xiaolu Guo’s Concise Chinese-English dictionary for lovers, a book set in London about love & loss, culture clashes and homesickness, could it even be classed as – X-rated, or perhaps an x-llent read?

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite X street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

X

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

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West India Quay

The Docklands have been transformed from the derelict state they were in the 1980s when the docks and the once largest port in Europe had closed, now it is a new, shiny financial district of London, posing a demanding skyline next to the river Thames, its glass fronted high rises, housing thousands of office workers every day.

West India North Dock

It is not an area in London, I visit very often (there are not any schools in need of a gymnastics coach around here) but of the whole area West India Quay is my favourite spot to go.

It’s on the edge of the Docklands, which means there are fewer stressed out workers and a more laid back atmosphere at the many restaurants along the quay. It has also kept some of the old Dockland architecture and warehouses. One of these old warehouses hold the Museum of London’s Dockland branch which as most museums in London is free. This museum houses a collection of the Dockland history of the trades that were being made here as well as visiting exhibitions. A place I truly recommend if you are heading this way.

West India - London Dockland Museum

The extra bits: Another W place is Woburn Place in central London, where I set one of my stories after a dream I had about a man found in a phone booth along this street through Bloomsbury.

West India - Woburn phonebox

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite W street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

W

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

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Victoria Embankment

Victoria embankment - street sign

Propping up the river Thames north side, Victoria Embankment is a pleasant walking path along the river as well as a thorough fare for cars. Along its banks you can see Cleopatra’s needle, presented to the British people and brought back from Egypt in the 19th century. It still have marks from the first German air raid on London during the First World War.

Across from Cleopatra’s Needle you find one of my favourite parks in London, the Victoria Embankment Gardens. It’s a narrow park right next to embankment station and it’s a lovely place to eat lunch on a hot summers day, and considering the amount of people from nearby offices here every day, I’m not alone in liking this place.

It is part of the beauty of London that you can find small green spaces that almost makes you forget that you are in one of the largest cities in Europe, surrounded by tons of concrete and asphalt. These small parks, gives you breathing space, before going back to the office and the daily grind.

The extra bits: Thames a biography by Peter Ackroyd

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite V street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

V

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Upper Mall

Upper Mall street sign

This stretch along the Thames in west London, used to be part of my cycling route to work when I first moved to London. The route followed the Thames from Fulham to Chiswick, accompanied by the always buzzing traffic on the Great West Road a major thoroughfare from the western suburbs into central London and the traffic noise is constant. Still you felt as if you were far away from London’s busy life once you reached this stretch. Other parts along the Thames can be quite trafficked and overwhelmed of tourist sights and other, but this stretch of life has its own character.

I used to always be jealous of the large beautiful houses with their lovely view of the river, until one day I came across an enormous puddle in my way when the Thames during a particular high tide had encroached its watery way unto the path and it was impossible to use the road. It was thigh high in some places, I was reliably told by someone who had hiked up her skirt and dared to cross the path. No question that I quickly turned around to take another path.

Upper Mall - brobuss

The extra bits: An unreliable guide to London. I like quirky guide books and I found this in a bookstore when I was looking for something for my parents. It is not easy to write about something that others have done so many times before you and it needs to be something really interesting and eye-catching for it to work. This book certainly gives you that.

Upper Mall - an Unreliable guide to London

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite U street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

U

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Tower Hill

Tower Hill - tubeview

This is a sight of London that never seize to amaze me. Whenever I ascend from the dark tunnels of the Tube and walk into the light and this sight, I fall in love with London all over again.

The first time I came to London was for a job interview. When I finished, I had a few hours to spend in London before my flight home. I stood at the tube station on the District line looking at the intricate map of coloured lines criss-crossing London and the only name I recognised was Tower Hill. I drew the conclusion that it must be the Tower of London and boarded the train.

After travelling through the tunnels straight across London I rode the escalators and walked towards the exit. Chancing on finding my way to the Tower once I was on street level again. And there it was. The beautiful view above with Tower bridge in the background and it just took my breath away. This is when I decided that I would move to London, no matter if I got the job or not. I wanted to be part of this beautiful city. Luckily I did get the job that sent me on this new journey in my life.

Tower Hill - tube view

Poppy tribute at the Tower ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

This art installation marked the centenary of the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the first world war. 888 246 ceramic poppies filled the moat around the Tower in 2014, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war. The installation was beautiful, touching and the share numbers of deaths during the war was highlighted in a whole new way.

Tower Hill - falling poppies

The extra bits: Threadneedle street. Another of the fascinating street names that are dotted around the city. This one is located outside the Bank of England.

Tower Hll - Threadneedle Street

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite T street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

T

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

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St Mary Axe

St Mary Axe - sign

St Mary Axe is home to one of the many sky scrapers in the City of London, this one with the lovely nickname ‘The Gherkin’ because of its shape. I doubt few people actually knows its real name, which is simply 30 St Mary Axe. Like many other buildings in London it has become a symbol for the London skyline, with its rounded top and black criss cross patterned exterior.

It’s not a public building and does not have the public space like the walkie-talkie, which makes the people who have access to it a very exclusive club. Once a few years ago, during Open House London I queued for six hours in the rain to ride the elevator to the top. But it was worth it. Stepping out of the elevator and look up to the albeit cloudy sky through the cone-shaped, latticed roof, was quite an experience. I remember standing there staring up into the ceiling and past the glass panels. It was definitely worth all that queueing, even though I would probably not do it again.

In Tokyo, we ran into a peeled version of ‘the gherkin’

St Mary Axe - skalad gurka

The extra bits: Sherlock Mews. Being a big Sherlock Holmes fan, I couldn’t help but add this small back alley to my posts. It’s not far from Baker Street, and it would be interesting to know how it got its name and if it was named before or after the famous detective put his mark on London.

 

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite S street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

S

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Regent’s Street

regent Street - sign

Another of west-central London’s thoroughfares and another grand shopping street. The street’s curve between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus was a compromise when it was first built when ownerships of land came into question. John Nash’s vision of broad thoroughfares and public areas he so loved from French cities were more complicated to achieve in London. It is one of the first planned developments in London and was approved by parliament because it was to be paid by local investors who would then rent out the ground floor as commercial properties. Today many of the grand houses still hold flagship stores from one of the largest retail companies in the world. The street has been redeveloped many times since it was first established in the early 19th century. Currently Beaux Arts dominates the street, the large city blocks being designed to be different but harmonised and all facades finished in Portland stone.

Regent street - curve

If the architecture itself doesn’t make you marvel, during the winter months its Christmas lights will light up the darkened London winter days. Every year there is a new theme and it is always fun to make the trip to central London in November and see what the new theme is.

The extra bits: Regent’s Park is located further to the north and is one of the royal parks in London, where you can also find London Zoo. It’s another of John Nash visions for the city.

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite R street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.

R

Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here

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