With freakishly beautiful weather lingering into the weekend, I had to take advantage. And what better way than Open House London, the annual weekend in which over 650 buildings, normally closed to the public, swing open their doors to allow the public to gawk to their hearts' content. And to top it off—free!
I started with Christ Church Spitalfields and Shoreditch Town Hall, which I see from my bus and I've always been curious to have a peek at. Then it was down to Aldgate, where I got to see St George's German Lutheran Church, which I'd discovered whilst walking to work last week.
What I intended as a quick stop turned into an hourlong chat — and tea — with a talkative gentleman and two old ladies who told me everything I ever wanted to know about German immigrants in the East End, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and how little the three of them cared for Gordon Brown. They have concerts there about once a month, so I think I'll swing by again for the sounds of organ music and German hymns.
Later, I met up with my new flatmate, Phoebe, who's an architect. Which means: priority pass! No more queues for me! We headed off to Shoreditch Prototype House, a model of eco-living a short walk from our flat. If eco-living means these sorts of views from the bedroom window, count me in:
After taking a quick coffee break on the steps of St Pauls Cathedral — and showing off my priority badge — we were back on the architecture trail.
We jumped more queues at the former Daily Express building on Fleet Street, gawked at the lecture halls at Queen Mary College in Whitechapel, and popped into St Matthias and Container City in the Docklands. And no need for guidebooks with an architect in tow to explain everything.
We finished the day at—where else?—the Royal Inn on the Park. Sitting on the patio, sipping a London Pride, and patting myself on the back for a weekend well spent.