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Published: August 20th 2015
The busy, alternative, crazy, loud, and forever surprising- London.
Since being here, I have been told by a many people that in London you will never stop moving-even when you are sitting down doing nothing, you’re still moving. The city is alive and it never sleeps. There is always something going on wherever you look, the streets are always packed, the trains are even busier and the range of personalities here is unbelievable - but so intriguing.
Yet again this fast-paced city is so incredibly different to the other busy cities we visited a few months ago- Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi (all of Vietnam actually) and Tokyo (not Abu Dhabi during Ramadan!). While Tokyo had a very diverse range of people in terms of style and personality, I think London takes the cake on this one. In the busy centre of London you see a lot of different people around, doing whatever they please, wherever they please, but I have found the most diverse areas are more on the outskirts. Camden town is the most unique area – very alternative and stylistic - where you see some very interesting and dramatic styles. Compared to the other places we visited on
our way to London, the people here aren’t nearly as welcoming or nice. A lot of people are just doing what they need to do, as fast as possible, and people don’t generally go out of their way to help others. Which isn’t a big deal, its just different to how people in New Zealand act!
We have been here 10 weeks now and have seen a lot of different parts of London, but there is still so much to see and do. I am still getting my bearings with where each part of town is in comparison to everything else because when you are travelling underground everywhere you just pop up in places and you cant follow how you got there. I have a love-hate relationship with the underground service here, as I’m sure most Londoners do. It is incredibly handy as there are stations everywhere, and tubes running every 5 minutes or so. The Oyster card/contactless card payment system works very efficiently and you can travel as much as you want on them and pay a maximum of £7 a day. On the other hand, the tube can be extremely frustrating, claustrophobic, and HOT. We have been
through two tube strikes since we’ve been here and there are another two in one week planned for next week, which totally halts London. Now that I am working, I am also experiencing the pleasant rush hour tubes where everyone is really happy, no one is rushing, no one is pushing, everyone is really patient, the train smells like flowers and you ALWAYS get a seat….. HA!
We are living in Fulham at the moment which is a lovely area. There are two parks down the road – Parsons Green and Eel Brook Common (where I have just started a boot camp!) - there are also lots of pubs and bars around which are packed after work and on the weekends. We have done a bit of walking from Fulham into town which has made it a lot clearer where everything is in comparison to each other. So far we have seen the changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, The London Bridge and the Tower of London. All of these tourists spots were fantastic to see when we first got here, and you’d think they would just become a normal, mundane
part of the city after a while but they are still magnificent to us. You don’t just casually stroll past the beautiful, historical cathedral where all the Royals got married in your lunch break in Auckland!
We have also visited the National Gallery where we got to see some of the artwork which we both studied in Art History back at high school. We saw some fascinating Vincent Van Gogh works, along with Leonardo Da Vinci, Monet and many more amazing artists. The National Library is another extraordinary place to visit as it is full of original ancient artefacts dating back to 600AD and earlier. There are many amazing museums here that we are yet to visit, like the National History Museum, the British Museum, V&A which all have free entry which is fantastic for poor travellers like ourselves!
We had a lovely visit from Janine and Nigel where we had a few very nice dinners and were treated to a show at the National theatre which was fabulous! The National Theatre is an amazing place, very inspirational seeing so many talented people performing. We can’t wait to go to more shows there! The National Theatre is located
right on the Thames River between the London Eye and the Tower of London with busy bars and restaurants as well as food tucks and alcohol stalls running along the river. It is such a lively place at night time, with so much going on and so many people. It has such a great vibe, so many buskers singing, dancing, beat boxing, and anything else you can imagine! We have gone down there for dinner and drinks a few times as it is such a great environment, and the London Eye and Westminster Abbey look amazing at night time. Covent Garden is also a really upbeat and happening area, with lots of really nice restaurants and cafes, and lots of street performers especially on the weekend – most perform magic tricks to attract children and families.
Another place which I love is Hyde Park. The massive beautiful, green park in the middle of town is a great place to relax and have a picnic or bike ride around or just meander through. It has a few lakes in the middle where you can hire little boats and paddle around which is great in summer!
This past weekend Matt and
I went to the Lion King play at the Lyceum Theatre which has been playing here since 1999. I would not be exaggerating to say it is the most wonderful play/ musical/ show (including concerts) that I have ever seen! It is such a magnificent show. The animal costumes were like pieces of artwork which were so detailed and technical and the actors were so talented! I couldn’t rave about it more! I definitely want to go again before leaving London.
So, overall we are loving living in London. It is a very lively and exciting city, especially for young people, and we can’t wait to travel across to Europe on the weekends and see more of the wonderfully historic UK.
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