Sometimes getting lost is the best way of finding something, whether in the real world or within yourself.
I think getting lost in London is one of the most wonderful things to do. You never know what is around the next corner and it is always a pleasant surprise. You always find the neatest little stores. Dare to walk down little alleyways that cut diagonally through building blocks. Follow your nose to locate the source of the caffeine, and you could stumble into a magical and quaint little coffee shop.
It is near to impossible to be disappointed in London. Even the houses are a marvel. To stroll along the neat streets in Chelsea is like eye candy. The houses are so beautifully built with attention paid to minute details and finishing touches. The houses look like they have stood the test of time and had a history, a story to tell. Each house has its secrets and has its fair share of tears and laughter.
Oxford street is lined from top to bottom with huge stores. It is almost like a place of worship. Franchise stores like H&M, Top Shop and Burberry must have been born out of these sites. The centres were HUGE!
Stores like Debenhams and John Lewis are like malls themselves with several floors to cater for all needs, from makeup to clothing to kitchenware. It was unbelievable. We haven’t exposed ourselves to the mad shopping experiences here, and I am grateful. There are so many choices that picking a single item would be nightmarish.
We also visited Harrods yesterday, a massive luxury store themed after Egypt. It is reminiscent of the large malls in Dubai. Rich fragrances were dizzying, and the bright colours were distracting. Everywhere there were labels like Prada, Gucci, John Hilfiger, Loreal, Chanel… it was maddening. We slipped out quickly before we could be seduced by products. My cousin mentioned that there was a whisky in there with a handcrafted bottle that sits lavishly at £10 000.
Ever since we landed in London, I have had an uncanny craving for Turkish Delight. There was something about roaming the old streets of the city that stirred my desire for the soft cube sweet dusted with icing sugar. Apparently, I am not the only one to suffer from these symptoms.
Since the release of C.S. Lewis’ film adaption of The Lions, the Witch and the Wardrobe many stores have experienced the “Narnia-effect” – a drastic increase in sales of Turkish Delight. Despite the growing popularity I have struggled to locate a store that sells the treat. I have spent the last two days in a final attempt to find an old store that sells the sweet. On both occasions, Google referred me to stores that had closed long ago, and we were left wandering the alleyways in London, trying to find the elusive sweet stores.
Today was the last attempt, and after the twisted roads had taken us to where Mrs Kibbles Olde Sweet Shoppe ought to be, we found it replaced. So we settled for the next best thing: Scoop, a luxury gelato shop. Little did we know that we were about to taste the best ice cream in the world. We selected mixed flavours of Milk & Berry and Bacio, a thick and nutty chocolate, in a cone. It tasted like heaven and happiness.
As we returned to Oxford Street, we took a different route. My brother saw it first and pointed to the sweets displayed in the window of a Turkish store with a broad smile on his face.
“Told you it would be in a Turkish store,” he grinned with that typical I-told-you-so tone.
I was elated! We rushed inside, and the owner helped us select a few flavours including the famous and original rose-water one. He loaded the pastel coloured sweets into a striped pink and white bag and nothing could wipe the smile off my face. But it was only when I sank my teeth into the soft, chewy sweet that real satisfaction set in. It was perfect!