London is a city that’s familiar. I’ve wandered around it with friends, with my sisters, and alone. I’ve hated it, I’ve loved it, I’ve been annoyed by its crowds, and I’ve dreamed of wandering its streets as a local. It’s not a city I loved immediately, but I can say I’ve grow fond of it with every visit, and here’s why:
After work pub culture. It’s the perfect way to unwind and Londoners know it. I love walking around the city just after people have left work and seeing the crowds of colleagues gathered with a pint in hand. Clusters of people overflow from the pub’s entrance, chatting, laughing, and becoming a little more relaxed in their ties and button down jackets. Their merriness makes me happy. And you can’t speak of an English pub without mentioning their board games, trivia, and quiz nights – they have that down to an art!
The unexpected. London is a city where anything can happen, like a nudist bicycle race taking place, and that’s exactly what I witnessed during my last visit. I could hear the cheering in the distance; surely something of interest was taking place in the vicinity… Imagine my surprise when my friend and I turned around the corner and were greeted by naked Londoners cycling past by the hundreds! Not what you’d expect from your average Brits.
Tea time. There is one meal that I never skip in London and that is tea time. There is no better way to spend the afternoon, in my opinion, than by sitting inside a tea house drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey and devouring far too many cakes and scones – especially scones! Add some Cornish clotted cream and a wildberry jam to that, and I am a very happy girl!
The iconic architecture. The pale blue dome of St. Paul’s on an overcast day, the ruins of crumbling cathedrals on the Southbank, the Elizabethan homes juxtaposed against Georgian townhouses, old power stations turned modern art galleries, and the luxurious facades which evoke a style and sophistication unlike any other city I’ve set foot in. Every detail in London speaks of the city’s rich history.
The style. London is a city where I instantly feel under-dressed. Skinny jeans and a v-neck t-shirt don’t cut it here. Girls wear dresses with floral patterns and stockings, pumps and cute pointed flats, frilly cardigans and fascinators. The look is completely effortless, feminine, and chic. It wouldn’t be hard to pick me out of the crowd as the foreigner, but it’s nothing a quick shopping trip to Oxford Street can’t fix!
The last time I was in London I found myself wandering down the Strand at sunset. A pink ethereal haze had descended over the ivory coloured buildings that line the streets, and for an instance there was no better place to be. I honestly felt sad to have to bid the city farewell yet again. London and I may never be a ‘thing’ but it holds a special place nonetheless.
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How do you feel about London?