At London’s heart Lord Nelson looks down on a vibrant sea of people hustling and bustling around Trafalgar Square. Today at the National Gallery doorstep, other kind of exhibition unveils – the Matsuri festival 2015.
Strolling around the square we adventure into a not so unfamiliar culture, invited by stalls strategically placed along the path. Stopping in the crowded stands we are able to see: darumas, maneki-nekos, Kokeshi dolls and for our delight the Totoro. The children happily parade their journal origami hats while the adults go snap happy. It is a selfie paradise.
Lunch hour approaches quickly, the stairs of the square turn into seats and the Japan enthusiasts enjoy some of the country delicacies. On the top level of Trafalgar, next to the national Gallery people gather to watch a Kendo demonstration. Fighters as young as three years old showcase their abilities and transport us to an era when the Samurais were still alive.
We resume our visit to the event, after watching the drum spectacle and petting two beautiful Akita dogs that patiently sit amongst the crowds. Wandering through London, our journey takes us to Piccadilly Circus where Alice and the Mad Hatter are hosting a small tea party by the Eros fountain offering to the little ones the opportunity to be photographed alongside their fictional friends. Shoppers walk up and down Regent Street buying the latest fashion trends, seeping tea at the small patisseries or as us just looking for a place to eat. The alleys and side roads always offer a ‘brand new gastronomic world’ to be explored, and this time was a quaint little place specialized in Korean food that caught our attention. Once rested and refueled, our London quest carries on in direction to Carnaby Street – London fashion week is here; models are all over the place, street photos are also being taken by a multitude of photographers and people are standing in the paths hopping to have a glimpse of a celebrity, designer or supermodel that pass by in black limousines. The commotion is staggering and the outfits paraded by models and fashionistas are a sight for any spectator.
The day is now replaced by night and London is taken by the party goers with swanky attires and elaborated hairdos. For us, cocktails are in order and no better place to be than in Soho. Some Soleros and Pear Drops after we are led by the decorations to Chinatown that as always is hectic and animated with Hare Krishna dancers, singing and dancing amongst tourists and locals.
Roaming through the busy roads and alleys, our destination is Covent Garden, the Heartbeat exposition is on and everyone is enchanted by the 54×12 m row of balloons clustered into clouds with pulsating lights symbolizing the heartbeat. Once again, something that is worthy of a selfie.
Another Saturday passes and over a nice cup of coffee I look back and think: “Only in London”.