For the longest time, ever since I was 7 to be medically accurate, as if that is needed, London was my favourite city. i didn’t get to see it in person until I was 23. It was like a blind date, I kind of knew what to expect but there is nothing in the world that could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. So when I first came to London, I found the city mesmerizing, Alice in Wonderland kind of experience and the people I saw it with were perfect for the experience. I started to imagine myself living in this huge wonder of architecture, culture and diversity and I couldn’t find any reason why I would not like to live in the city.
Although, after I took the big step for an individual, absolutely irrelevant for the humanity, my giant pink bubble had popped and reality hit me. I will not tell you all the reasons why you should not live in London because, considering that I live here and don’t plan on moving out soon, all those reasons are outbalanced by the positive ones. I will tell you though, a few facts that you might not know if you just visited London, without actually living in the city.
First, and this could be a whole blog post in itself, but I’ll just touch the basics for now, something about the tube:
If you travel less than 30 minutes to get to work, you’re either one of the lucky ones or you are paying almost the basic salary in UK for rent. Another thing about the tube, except the fact that it’s too hot so most of the time you’ll be carrying your winter coat which, I’m sure is not heavy at all, is that if you travel peak time which is 6:30 – 9:30 am and 4 – 7 pm, if you find a seat, you’re again, either one of the lucky ones or you are living in zone 5/4. So as you can see, the tube keep you standing and fit. Now, let’s say you did find a seat, the true battle begins – the one for the arm rest! You would think it is logical for people to only use one and leave the other one for the person sitting next to them,but reality has more humour than logic and it rarely happens this way. Also, I have a tip for you: If you can choose, try not to sit next to someone who is reading the newspaper especially not the yellow huge one because they never fold it and you’ll find your nose being tickled by their reading source, the entire trip.
Let’s say you did survive the tube trip. Another challenge are the escalators. You’ll see notice boards with “Please hold the handrail” or “Stand on the right” so, as a tourist, being overwhelmed, you might not see this rule and stand on the left, pfff…if looks could kiss, it would be a massacre. Didn’t you know, tourist, even though it’s your first time ever in London, that the left part is for the people who are in a rush, walk faster or simply lack patience? Then there are times when a senior citizen felt adventurous and instead of using the lift, tried really hard to use the escalators, but the only side that he could hold himself to, having his crutch in the right hand, was the left side, of course. This is one of those moments when your heart gets warm and fuzzy and without even protesting, you just go on the right side until you’re pass him and and then get on the left side, as usually. Londoners and their selective kindness…
Another moment when people will know you’re a tourist is if you only cross the road when the green man is on. If you come from a country like mine where that is illegal, it will take some time to get used to but here, as long as you are not endangering other people or yourself, and you first checked where the traffic is coming from (which is written on the pavement eg: look left, look both ways) you are free to cross at your convenience.
Something that I noticed on my first day in London is, once the clock hits 5 pm, the pubs are overflowing. Don’t get me wrong, we do have pubs in Romania and we do spend time in them after work but this habit has been taken to another level here. You can find a pub on almost every street in London, and if you have office buildings in the area, even more.
Probably this is the longest post I’ve written so far so I’ll stop here even though if I think hard enough I can find many more delightful things that you might have not known about this gorgeous capital city.
A similar blog post to this is the 10 most photogenic places in London, that you can find here