This is our last day in London. I had booked a place in the neighborhood of Hackney Wick because it was cheap (for London anyway) and looked funky.

As the days have gone by, I’ve appreciated what this place means for our journey. It’s a poorer part of East Side, where there’s a predominantly Muslim community, old tiny houseboats on the canal, and a lot of beautiful, artistic graffiti on the walls. It makes for an interesting contrast, a melding of change and cultures. Every day, we take the bus that trawls its way towards central London where the scene gets more affluent and white. It’s a good reminder for myself and the kids that London is not all that gleams in the postcards. It is also hardworking people of all stripes who have come from all parts of the world — or the Commonwealth, rather — to create a new life for themselves and for this city so richly storied in history.

But Hackney Wick is changing. Everywhere around us, there is construction with signs heralding how they are “regenerating” Hackney Wick with 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments featuring gyms and rooftop terraces. I feel fortunate that we are getting to witness a community that may not be here much longer; but nothing stays static in London. I wonder what was here prior to the influx of Muslim immigrants; and who before them and before them all the way down to the original inhabitants of Londonium.

Graffiti art in Hackney Wick

Bridge over Hackney Wick

Our apartment for 8 days in Hackney Wick

The “regeneration” of Hackney Wick in action

Crossing the pedestrian bridge to the local grocery store

Taking the bus to downtown London

The Underground tube gets crowded during rush hour!