Why Yes England Has Brunch

A fun fact: brunch has actually English origins, dating back all the way to the late 19th century. Or maybe this is common knowledge and I’m just the dummie here? In any case, this wonderful concept of mixing up breakfast and lunch is honestly something that makes the world a better place to live in. Really. I mean it’s pretty genius. So, we decided with a bunch of friends from uni that we needed to find out whether British brunch could improve the overall image of British breakfasts.

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Queuing in the rain for a loong time… But almost at the door at this point!

IMG_8167 – kopioFinding a place to have brunch in London isn’t too hard, but you should still Google around beforehand to avoid the ever so awkward fumbling around when randomly looking for a place to eat, and eventually just ending up having the regular British breakfast at yet another pub. Not that I’d have anything against pubs though.

We chose our destination beforehand (aka my friend chose, I actively avoid responsibility) and ended up at The Breakfast Club at London Bridge. We made one critical mistake though – we did not make a reservation. First of all, the time to queue was well over an hour  already when we got there around 11 am. (Okay, confession time: I was late because I slept in. This is why brunch normally happens after a Saturday, not a Friday! Still, ever so grateful for my friends for queuing for me too ❤️) On top of that we were 6 people, which did not help the situation. The overall waiting time for us ended up being over 1,5 hours, so lesson learned. Make a reservation.

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Five hot chocolates and one latte – proper drinks in proper mugs for proper adults

However, once we did get in and finally got seated (after an episode of being difficult customers and asking for a specific table not so close to the door in order to avoid the freezing breeze outside… Yeah, I know but it had to be done) it was totally worth the wait. We got our food really quickly, and it was so good. One of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had! So it has now been proven: you can get good food in the UK, and even a good breakfast!

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Naturally we all ordered pancakes, but being 6 people we still had a quite a few different varieties. They all came with maple syrup, no matter whether it was pancakes with bacon or with berries, but even with the salty sides it all played together surprisingly well – so be brave. The dishes were huge and in the end I couldn’t even finish mine, so the guys were kind enough to help me out with my last pancake – almost fighting over it so yeah, it was definitely good.

The Breakfast Club has quite a few restaurants in London, so feel free to pick the most convenient one for you. Most of the breakfast dishes were around £10, so a very reasonable price for a breakfast and lunch – because trust me, you won’t need lunch after this brunch! They also had nice 90s hits playing, so points for general ambiance. And for good looking waiters. Overall, it was definitely a brunch worth having.

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Humans of Europe

A week ago I had the opportunity to take part in this crazy cool program, organized by the Youth European Movement (YEM) all over Europe! Obviously I was contributing only to the part happening right here on London, but it does feel kind of meaningful to know that the same thing is going on in other places too.

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Anyways, I trust that most of you have heard about this facebook page called “Humans of New York”. If you haven’t, no worries. Basically the idea is that people in New York are stopped on the street and they’re asked to tell their story – so how they got to where they are now, or how they feel, or what kind of crazy stuff has been going on in their lives. You wouldn’t believe how insane some of their lives are, absolutely unbelievable! But all true.

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So, inspired by this, YEM has created a similar page called “Humans of Europe” – I trust the name to be quite self-explanatory. But since YEM largely works in universities and other academic circles, the questions asked from the people they stop are bound to be something more than just stories. They all have something to do with the EU: what it is to be European and whether there is a common European identity.

Maybe you can guess it already? Yes, I was stopping people on the streets.

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I’m sure everyone has come across people who stop others on the streets – for whatever reason it may be. But being one of them, that’s a whole another story. If you’ve ever had to do it, you know that it’s incredibly easy to lose all faith in humanity in mere seconds. We were moving in groups of two or three, all young and all well dressed – to  put it bluntly, we didn’t look like druggies or homeless people or any other sort of creepy. And we thought that people would be nice. Or even polite. I would have even taken a fake smile. But no no.

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“I am actually half South-African, half Middle-Eastern, but I was raised in Belgium. I think of myself as a Belgian, and it feels odd to go home to SA because I’m not from there, I am European.”

Look, I do admit that we might have come off somewhat odd in the beginning – it is surprisingly hard to try to spot someone suitable (not in a hurry, not in a big group, not likely to yell at you) without staring at them intensively for an extensive time when they walk towards you or vice versa. We might have spooked a few tourists, yes I am guilty. But after noticing our mistake and getting a good drive on, I think we looked very innocent! A bit naive maybe, but we weren’t selling anything, not tricking people, nothing of that sort. But the amount of people waving us off like we’d be an infectious disease, giving us these ridiculous lies and excuses, or just being good old rude, was astonishing. Admittedly this shouldn’t be surprising, and I may be culpable to some of these myself, but I promise, no more. Stops now.

 

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“We are both from Greece, and we’re studying tourism. We’ve definitely noticed that there is a common European identity, strengthened by open borders and increased travelling opportunities.”

However, I’m not all negative. We met some wonderful people who were genuinely happy to answer our questions and let us take a few pictures, and those people honestly made my day. It was also interesting to hear from these people, all over the Europe and outside, what they thought about the EU and how they perceived themselves. It was a great experience, and I would definitely go to the streets again.

Now after these few sneak peaks, go like the ‘Humans of Europe‘ facebook page for more!

 

10 Things You Need To Know About London

London. I’ve heard it to be called the city of fog, the city of rain and the city of beer. Which form of liquid comes closest to the truth, I couldn’t say. But what I can tell ya, is that it’s a pretty unique city.

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All European countries and their capitals are different and distinguishable – but none more than London. It’s kind of an achievement to the Brits, really. They wanna be different, and they wanna make sure that no one takes them for just another great European country with just another historically significant capital city. And they’ve been thorough, starting with left-hand traffic and money that literally looks like it was created based on Harry Potter.

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If you want numbers and raw facts about London, go to Wikipedia. But here’s what you really need to know about this city.

1. The rain’s not an issue, the wind is. It’s damn windy. Not windy like “oh look, I should probably close my jacket”, but windy as in you literally fall over if you’re not watching out. Trust me, been there, done that.

2. People don’t use the crosswalk. Just because it’s really no use, the cabs and buses don’t care. Jaywalk, or don’t walk.

3. The tube is a silent zone. Happiness, or any other emotional display for that matter, is banned. And frowned upon. Brits have mean stares.

4. Oh and the tube is the tube. Don’t call it a subway, that’s just a sandwich.

5. Walking or using the tube even nearish to the center during the rush hour (7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm) is bound to give you some serious aggression.

6. Random people will casually call you love, sweetie and darling and it’s pretty damn nice ♥

7. Never stand on the left. Ever.

8. Students get discounts pretty much everywhere. Which is good, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. It just puts the prices to a somewhat acceptable level.

9. Back to the tube. It doesn’t run after midnight. It’s been running over 150 years, but it freaking doesn’t run after midnight. Get a grip London.

10. Most pubs actually close around 11pm, at least in the center. Which is good. Because the tube doesn’t run after midnight.

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So, that’d be all for now. I’m sure I could come up with so many more points, but I gotta leave something for another time!