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Published: January 13th 2012
With our one year wedding anniversary fast approaching we couldn’t help but get excited when Nikki found out that the London ice sculpting festival was on from 13th
January literally just over the road from where she works. The last time we saw ice sculptures was at our wedding at the Ice Hotel in Sweden.
Being that it is January and I’m trying to lose some “Christmas weight” I decided to cycle to Canary Wharf to meet Nikki for lunch so we could see some of the sculptures and to see what other activities they might have on.
After the scariest bike ride I have ever been on (6 lanes of traffic on the motorway) I arrived in Canary Wharf. Although I am a born and bred Londoner I don’t think I have ever been to Canary Wharf before, it is London’s financial district and over the last 5-10 years it has grown substantially.
It’s not very often I get excited about a part of London I have never been to before, in fact I never get excited about anywhere in London anymore, but being surrounded by huge skyscrapers which ever direction
you look in gave me, for the brief time I spent in Canary Wharf, a form of escapism.
With the exception of the busy roads and masses of people everywhere you’d be forgiven for mistaking Canary Wharf for a city similar to New York.
For the first time in years I found myself a tourist in my own city, casually walking slowly looking up at the phenomenal buildings, “oops sorry” fast becoming a regular phrase used by me when I bump into the numerous people who work here as I am looking up and not paying attention to where I am walking. I suppose the fact everyone was wearing a suit and I was literally the only person wearing jeans, jumper, jacket, woolly hat and let’s not forget the obligatory SLR around my neck (how else am I supposed to take pictures lol) make me look like a tourist too.
I met Nikki at the bottom of the building where she works and we made our way to see the ice sculptures. This two day event started today and we went to see the sculptures at about 11:30ish, had I have
thought about this a little more I should have realised what was going to happen. When we got to the ice sculptures they were not finished, in fact they had barely started.
Not letting that put us off we walked around to see what else was going on at the event. We saw a row of blocks of ice in the shape of a dog’s head.....sort of in that shape anyway. When we got closer it turned out they were set up ready for an ice sculpting lesson that was completely free, thinking I’d maybe have a go once we had explored a little more I found that when I got back you have to book a time slot and the next slot was an hour and a half away so unfortunately I didn’t get to have a go.
There was an ice rink in Canada Square with music playing for the skaters and what I found most cute was the children’s play area. Think of a sand pit, now take all of the sand out fill it with snow, that was the children’s play area. It was so sweet seeing the little kids
trying to make snowmen.
When we went back to see the ice sculptures again it was amazing how much progress some had made since we had seen them just 30 minutes prior. The square was getting busier and just behind the sculptures was a row of food stalls selling everything from various types of cookies to traditional jerk chicken with rice and pea. One woman selling Mediterranean food was singing out loud to people as she dished up their lunch.
We had just enough time to get a coffee and cake (not good for the new year diet, I know) before Nikki had to go back to work.
When Nikki went back to work I stayed in Canary Wharf for a while, I didn’t want to go home yet. I would never have thought in a million years that being somewhere, not that different from where I spend every of my life, and only four and a half miles from our house, could evoke such strong feelings.
I continued to walk around, in my head I was in a new city, one I had never been to before,
I felt that sense of excitement we all get when we’re exploring a new place, I felt that travel bug deep inside me coming back to life after a few months of going “cold turkey” from our last adventure. We have exactly twenty nine days until we go to Mexico where we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary.
After an unexpectedly amazing day I can honestly say that I cannot wait for our trip and my little friend, the travel bug, is looking forward to his next fix too.
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