Discovering secrets in a new and exciting place

Alex Bowden, Herald Foreign Correspondent

Everything has secrets. Some secrets will never be told. Some secrets are passed along through friends. Some secrets involve the consumption of boogers at a young age.

 Yes, I was “that” kid, and arguably still am. However, the greatest secrets I have discovered were revealed to me in London. 

 Outside observers may view the secrets of England as pretty much anything related to Harry Potter. Trust me, going to Platform 9 3/4 is not as magical as it was when you first saw “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” After all, J. K. Rowling never mentioned the sushi restaurant in the books nor the gift shop that sold Wizarding World merchandise.

 True secrets of the city don’t come from a top 11 Buzzfeed list. Rather, the secrets come from what you discover on the way to the store on number three of the list.

 While London Underground is a very convenient transportation method, you don’t end up learning much about the city. Hop onto one of the famous double decker buses, stumble up the stairs and see the parts of the city you’re missing. The greatest secrets are often found right in front of your eyes. On the way to a tourist trap, a group of us inadvertently discovered Camden Market. With brick and cobblestone taking up the streets and buildings and food that you have only seen in videos shared on Facebook, Camden Market has proven to be a diamond in the rough, that is Camden Town.

 Other secrets have been a cafe in a small square, a restaurant in Chinatown that goes fully authentic and even the apple juice at Pret a Manger — the wealthy man’s Dunkin’ Donuts — tastes like the seasonal autumn apple cider in America. While these may seem like little discoveries that are out in the open to locals, to me, they are places I have charted onto my own map.

 In reality, the true secrets of London most likely lie in Buckingham Palace. Seriously, how is the Queen still alive and how did Prince Harry get Meghan Markle while I had a geographic advantage and better looks?

 In a city so large, a new fantastic discovery makes an impact on where you may visit in the future, and how you may approach other locations. A few minutes before writing this, I discovered that a place called Borough Market sells ostrich meat. With secrets all over the place, this revelation may not be the biggest surprise I’ve had this week.