Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's hip to be Shoreditch

It took five days, but I think I found the hipsters. Not that I was looking for them, I just knew they had to be somewhere and that somewhere appears to be Shoreditch.

I met Hayley and Gareth at Liverpool St Station and we first had a wander around Spitalfields Markets. We also had lunch at a yum place called Leon's.

We then wandered out into the streets and started seeing vintage clothes shops every five minutes. I've never seen so many second-hand Wayfarers in my life, and we all know that where there are Wayfarers, there are hipsters.

We took a stroll down Brick Lane, one end of which is full of Indian restaurants with guys standing outside trying to tempt you to come in. The other end has shops, cafes, and bars. I decided Shoreditch was my favourite place so far. Hayley said it was like a 'little Wellington'. If so, it would be like Newtown and Cuba Street had been mixed together.

All the street signs are translated into (what I guessed was) Arabic underneath. On one part of the street we passed a whole lot of men who seemed to have just come out of a mosque and were milling around talking to each other.

One of the shops we passed had these shoe boxes outside with old maps and black and white photos in them, most of the photos were old wedding photos. Old photos in second hand shops always make me sad, why didn't the family of the people in the photos want them?

Being Brick Lane, there were obviously a lot of bricks on that road and in the area in general, but there was also a lot of graffiti and street art to keep things interesting.

On the recommendation of Chrissy and Piet we went to a 'coffee house and bar' called The Bridge. I had my 50th strawberry tart of the week and a nice cup of tea. The Bridge was very cool, kind of dim and shadowy so hard to take photos in, but full of interesting things.

We sat upstairs in a room covered with fabric and full of paintings, lamps and ornate mirrors. Conveniently, I had a lounge on a chaise lounge, however, the dim lighting started making me a bit sleepy...

After Hayley and Gareth and I parted ways, I took a wee detour and went back to a couple of the vintage shops (and actually, like NZ, while they call themselves 'vintage' a lot of the clothes are just well picked second hand items, some probably aren't even 10 years old). Out of the kindness of my heart, I hadn't wanted to force Gareth to endure hours wandering around in musty shops earlier in the day. I ended up buying a skirt and a dress, but actually from Urban Outfitters and a place called The Laden Showroom where the work of small independent designers is showcased. Both places were having sales and I justified my purchases by reasoning that they could both be worn to work as well as just around. It's tricky though, because I still see things and go, '22 pounds! A bargain' and then have to stop and think it's actually more like NZ$44.

On the way back to the tube, I passed this bar, which, if I lived in Shoreditch, I would definitely go to. How could you not when Frida and Diego are hanging out on the walls!

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