As expected, I am totally in love with this city. It’s absolutely stunning – soaring modern architecture against castles and huge expanses of parks. It doesn’t hurt that the weather has been insanely perfect the whole time I’ve been here. There have been a few showers but on the whole, it’s been crisp, sunny fall weather; the perfect backdrop for exploring!
A few things:
- I’ve found it less expensive than I anticipated. I am obviously very lucky to be travelling for work and I do imagine that renting a flat or hotel room would be extremely expensive here; similar to New York, space is at an absolute premium. However, I’ve found that there’s a huge range of both costs and choices when choosing food and shopping -- yes, it would be easy to go crazy and spend a ton, but it’s definitely not impossible to keep it under control, either!
- I’ve noticed a lot of Londoners reading while walking and even reading while running. To borrow a phrase from my new British friends, "wonderful and weird."
- England’s bad rap for their food and cooking is totally undeserved -- I have eaten a ton of great food in my time here. Indian, tapas, pastries, yum. There is a HUGE food culture here too, beyond just the restaurant scene. I went to Borough Market, the city’s biggest and most notable on Saturday and was so glad I did (best “toasted cheese” aka “grilled cheese” OF MY LIFE!!) but that was honestly choosing one from a list of many, many Saturday food markets. I’ll be back for more, London!
- On the toasted-cheese/pastries note… thank goodness London is an incredibly safe and therefore incredibly walkable city. I’ve walked to and from work every day and did a ton of exploring this weekend, walking literally everywhere. It’s not on any type of grid so I’ve relied fairly heavily on Google maps, but thanks to the River, I’ve started to be better able to orient myself when out and about and do feel that I am getting the hang of it!
Dumb American in London moments:
- The River Thames is pronounced “Temms” – please, kill me. No one corrected me for like a week.
- Though my head knows that I should look right first to check for cars coming when crossing the street, it has proven nearly impossible to reverse 28 years of left-right-left checking and I look like a total weirdo at every street corner, shaking my head back and forth at least 10 times. It’s habit fighting logic and I’m just a mess.
- Speaking of things being on opposite sides of what I’m used to, the escalators are also reversed so I have tried to go up the down escalator twice.
- I cannot work my microwave to save my life. I’m not sure if this is a cultural difference or because I’m staying in a high-efficiency green building. Either way, I definitely ate cold curry for dinner tonight.
Apologies for the short (and week late post!) but I've been trying to see and do as much as I can in the non-working hours and am therefore finding myself totally exhausted every night! In tonight's case, I had a stressful (sarcasm) day of tapas, the Tower of London and cold curry... also, Downton Abbey’s on soon and that is serious business here. :)
Cheers from London!
I've been fighting with my wireless here but will be posting lots of pictures when I get home!