There is definitely a charming buzz of electricity that fills the air as you wander around Covent Garden, London:
Imagine, listening to the sound of your own footsteps from the sole of your shoes hitting the ground as you stride along the cobbled granite surface.. almost like a melody as you try your best to dodge the crowd of people in the area. At the corner of your eyes, a well-preserved building caught your attention. You began walking towards it, a mystery awaits as the only hint of whats to come is the sound of laughter coming from a mass of people surrounding a street entertainer giving the place its own unique character. You pause, and lean back..Your mind telling you “Don’t forget to breathe lad!” and with your hands in your pockets, you close your eyes to soak in the atmosphere and you think to yourself,
Now this is the cultural heartbeat of London
From the polished oxfords to worn out sneakers that have walked on the paved grounds, the place beyond exudes affluence and stylized living whilst staying true to its artistic root. as you walk around the piazza lined with shops, cafés and restaurants, you start to feel miniscule as you admire the high ceiling, the huge stone pillars and the vast space in awe. Your attention focuses on one of the pillars holding up the beautiful architectural beauty in front of you. You reach out your hand and as the surface of the pillar touches your skin , the instant cool shocks you but you stay amazed. You wonder when was the last time the pillar have been graced by the warmth of the sun.
(Well, this is England after all.)
You continue to walk around the area looking at the shops, seeing your reflection as you stare through their spotless, clear windows. Your mind couldn’t help but wonder how long it took the shopkeeper to arrange the displays to make them look photo ready. Really, how long did it take them?
You gaze around to see people sitting down on the outside part of a café enjoying their scones and tea. At that moment, you start to feel a bit peckish. You realise that you wanted to find someplace to eat. Where can I find halal food around here?
Growing hungrier by the minute, you continue looking around.
Suddenly you recalled a French patisserie around the area that a friend recommended to you some time ago. With eagerness in your heart, you are determined to find it, so you take out your trustee sidekick- Google Maps. You typed in the name of the cafe and smiled when you see that it’s only two minutes away, according to your sidekick.
You dodged the sea of people while you navigate yourself with your phone in hand. There it is, the name of the bakery written in a gold coloured font just above its slightly arched light green entrance. Ladurée. You don’t even know how to properly pronounce it without offending anyone. (La-du-ray? La-dew-ree? )
You walk up the stairs to be greeted by a woman as you smile and said, “Table for one, please”.
As you take your seat with the menu on your hand you’re immediately transported to the finest tearoom in Paris as you hear a mixture of different accents wafting through the air coming from the people conversing with each other on the tables around you. You see an array of people, and you smiled at the sight of other Muslims enjoying their hi-teas.
You scan through the menu and finally decided to order a Salmon Club sandwich, a pot of vanilla tea and four of their famous macarons: pistachio, salted caramel, bubble gum and the Marie Antoinette.
The tea arrives in a silver pot and poured into the tea cup in front of you. As you take a slow sip, the sweet scent of vanilla envelopes your senses as you gaze outside the window, through the balcony, expecting to see the Eiffel Tower….
But no, this is London.
You see the waitress arriving with your food and you just cannot wait to sink your teeth into it.You try to look sophisticated by using a fork and knife to eat your properly presented dish. You finish off the whole thing with the taste of the salad vinaigrette still lingering on your palate and washed it down with some more vanilla tea. Hmm, what a nice and light meal that was.
Feeling very full, you decided to have your macarons to go instead to enjoy them later, so you signed to the waitress for the bill. As you walk out of the patisserie, you hear the sound of music echoing through the marketplace. Although you’re not the most diehard fan of classical music, something about the soothing symphony just compels you to walk towards the source: the square.
You lean onto the rails whilst holding the paper bag with your macarons in your hand and join the people to admire the string quartet performance. When the music ends, the roaring sound of the applause follows. You look at your watch and see that you still have plenty of time for your Asr’ prayers. So, you decide to walk around some more to see what else Covent Garden has got to offer.
Ah, more magic awaits.
Rifhan Ideris is a freelance writer for Muslyfe. He believes in finding simple inspiration in the littlest things.