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Europe in the Summer

During my junior year of college I was lucky (and smart) enough to spend three months traveling all around Europe with one of my best friends. For ten weeks we toured churches and museums, stayed in hostels, and ate falafel. Because we were skipping a co-op quarter to travel, and because of our impending graduation, we noted 'alternative life plans' all along the way.

Clerk in tiny grocery store on the Italian coast? Alternative life plan #658. Innkeeper in Toulouse? Alternative life plan #392. You get the point.

Fast forward to graduation, and another good friend actually chose a sort of alternative life path. While people were planning vacations or packing their bags to head to design studios around the world, Jen Vitello was applying to the Peace Corps. And the January after we graduated she was officially accepted.

Fast forward to today, and Jen is just about at the end of her time with the Peace Corps. So when she let me know that she would have a short break at the end of August and was planning to travel to Barcelona and would I want to join her, well, it was hard to resist. We actually met in London (the flight was cheaper for me & she was already in the UK), spent 3 days exploring the buzzing Olympic city, and then continued on to Barcelona. 

One of our favorite finds in London was Boxpark Shoreditch. It's a pop-up mall made almost entirely out of shipping containers. Due to that fact, all the shops are long and narrow and feel very curated because they are so small. All the brands in Boxpark are trendy or edgy or doing something new (see One Piece).

Credit for the photo on the left goes to Miss Jen Vitello; all others are mine
The reason we found Boxpark in the first place is because of Pieminister. Jen and I have a shared fondness for pie. In fact, during our senior year of school it was pretty normal for us to bake a pie together, sporadically get all our friends together, and then promptly eat the pie while it was still warm from the oven.

More after the jump..

Pieminister started as a food truck serving small savory pies. It was so popular that they were able to open at least a couple storefronts. Their location in Boxpark has a series of awesome long picnic tables right outside where you can enjoy your pie, soak up some sun, and watch all the trendy Boxpark patrons come and go. (In case you're wondering, I went with the Matador pie + minty mushy peas & gravy and a Fentimans Victorian Lemonade.)

In true British style, Pieminister pies are served on enamel dishes. We spotted these Falcon dishes at a store just down the street, but I resisted the urge to add to my voluminous pie plate collection.

Boxpark is a great place to start your day because its right in East London, a trendy and colorful neighborhood that is perfect for exploring.