A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought that I’ll live in London one day. When I first visited the city in 2013, I was amazed: it is huge, crowded, full of famous buildings and places, full of classic “London” things like the double-decker or the black cabs. Then, as I came here more often (after half of my family had moved here), I started to get used to things: I memorised the underground stations, I got an Oyster card, I queued for the bus… But only in August could I say that I was officially a Londoner, when I got my +44 phone number and changed my current city to London on Facebook. So, based on the past 5 months, let’s see what I find the most interesting/annoying/unusual/strange in London: here is the ultimate #justLondonthings list! 🙂
#1 Queueing. People are queueing up all the time, to everywhere. And they are extremely patient. In fact, that’s how you can tell if someone is a tourist: they always want to skip the queue…
#2 Keep calm and travel on. In London, there are two different times for travelling: peak and off-peak (the former is more expensive in order to encourage tourists not to travel at that time). As the name shows, peak is very busy: people are going to work, they have to be there on time, etc. And yet, when something happens with the tube in peak time and there are “severe delays”, nobody starts panicking. If we are in between two stations, and there is a red signal, and we have to wait there for 15 minutes, Londoners just read another article in Metro or solve another crossword. If the bus driver says there is a diversion and he will miss out the next 5 bus stops, Londoners just check the time on their phone or turn to the next page in their book. They all know that they will arrive at their destination sooner or later, and since in London there are almost infinite different possibilities to get from A to B, there is no need to worry. I started to adapt this mentality: yesterday the Circle line was partially closed due to a signal failure at King’s Cross, and I didn’t panic at all. I got off at the next station and walked through Hyde Park. Speaking of…
#3 Hyde & Kensington Park. I love Hyde Park. It is a little (well, actually quite big) green spot right in the middle of the city, an amazing place to start your day. I usually come to campus very early (my personal record is 7:20), so I would expect there are not many people in Hyde Park at that time. How wrong! It is always full of runners, dog walkers, cyclists, birds, swans and squirrels. In the UK, most parks are bright green all year long due to the rain, and it makes them very picturesque. So whenever I enter the park, the outside world seems to stop, and I just stare at all the different little scenes happening around me and enjoy the sunshine and… Oh god, I love Hyde Park 🙂
#4 It’s dead expensive. You had a budget in mind at the beginning of the year? You can forget it in two weeks… If you’re in London, you just spend and spend and spend… I don’t know why or how. I was planning to save some money, because why not. Well, I ended up spending all of it. Because it was Black Friday and I needed a new pair of jeans, but I couldn’t leave there these shoes either. Or I was thinking about buying a book or two to read, and I ended up buying a Kindle. Or I went to Tesco to buy some lunch, but the Oreo cookies were on sale for half price and I bought three… And now I am too scared to look at my bank account… 🙂
#5 Big Ben. I don’t know why, but I am a huge fan of the Elizabeth Tower (commonly known as the Big Ben, however, that is actually just the name of the bells). There are these classic famous London sights like the Buckingham Palace or the London Eye, but they can become boring after a while, if you see them very often. But Big Ben is simply not like that. It is awesome every time I see it. I can easily walk around London by now without doing these “tourist things” like taking pictures at every second corner or looking at the map to check where is the nearest tube station. But Big Ben is different: I have to stop and take a picture and post it on Facebook, because it is the Big Ben, for God’s sake! So beautiful… 🙂
#6 Transport for London Shop. I have a crush on TfL things. I have Tube Map oyster card holder, Tube Map notebook, Tube Map bed linen… I can’t explain why I like it, but I have this “OMG” feeling every time I look at the Tube Map. Maybe because it’s so colorful… And they recently opened a new shop right at the South Kensington station!!!! Ahhh, satisfaction level infinite 🙂
I hope it was not too overenthusiastic, but… I just love London, I love living in London and I love every bit of being a Londoner!