london // day 1

I arrive at Luton Airport at 10am, after which I am left to figure out how to get to my hosts’ place. Luckily, my good friend GoogleMaps has already planned my journey for me: I take a shuttle from the airport to the airport train station (£1.20), then a train from the airport station to central London (£9.90), and finally three different tube lines (£4.80) to Shepherd’s Bush station! What a stressful adventure for a tired tourist. Anyhow, I somehow manage to get to the Baccetti’s house in one piece. Their three-story townhouse is in a lovely, quiet area. I’m immediately seduced by the rows upon rows of prim white houses London has on display.

I have a proper welcome lunch with the family, after which St├ęphane and Sophie take me for a walk around the neighborhood. We pass through Notting Hill – I’ve yet to watch the film – and through some of Portobello Road. Portobello is definitely on the touristy side, but it still hosts a number of record stores that are worth checking out. St├ęphane pays his regular visit to Rough Trade Records (the original location), while Sophie and I wander into an eye-pleasing concept store, Everything’s Going to be Alright. The shop boasts a collection of hipster goods, including neon-trimmed notebooks and unexpectedly beautiful fleece blankets. They also sell fresh-baked bread, pastries and coffee, which one can peacefully enjoy in a back room, perhaps while flipping through one of the design books on display.