It’s kinda hard to go back and gather all your thoughts and remember how you felt when you’re about to visit one of the cities you’ve been dreaming of visiting for most of your life. I'm sure I could express my feelings in better words, but lets just say “way too excited” encompasses my feelings in three words or less.
The first time I went was with my school, University of Sussex, as a day-tour. We were welcomed with the best weather I've experienced in London so far - clear skies and lots of sun. First stop: Buckingham Palace! The Royal Trap House in its eternal beauty. Just in time for the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, which I couldn't really see because the crowd was like Disneyland during Christmas time. But the palace itself was gorgeous - a must see in London. Second stop, River Thames: London Eye, Big Ben, and the Tower Bridge (yeah, apparently the London Bridge is actually called the Tower Bridge idk). The epitomes of Central London. It was surreal seeing these landmarks in real life - definitely a too real moment for me. We ended the day with a visit to Soho, China Town and Picadilly Circus area - all great places to walk around and appreciate the city-life that is London.
So London was just what I thought it would be - but even better. I’ve already gone back three times. I went to Finsbury Park for Wireless Festival which was pretty fun. British people know how to have a good time & don’t waste their time doing it. Also the vibe is a lot more chill ~ and people really really enjoy the artists who perform. I think there is a stronger music culture here, and I would love to experience more music events/festivals all over Europe.
So while I'm here imma do this thing where I take each country/city I visit and talk about 5 things: the people, the food, the fashion, the culture, and the overall experience.
Not ranking any of them specifically - I don’t like ranking (also I suck at it bc indecisive). Just expressing what I love/felt about each country and because it'll help me remember.
People: I think a lot of Londoners are very independent people who do their own thing and try to avoid us tourists at all costs, lol. But those that I’ve met and spoken to are all friendly, and go wide-eyed you if you say you’re from California. They don’t approach you unless you speak to them first - but if you do, they're 99.9% always friendly, and you’re always in for a nice conversation with swoonful accents.
Food: Sigh. Sadly, unless you like bland flavor and carbs, you won’t find much great food in London. Maybe I haven’t been to the best places (or can’t afford them), but the food is pretty basic in London. The Asian food I've tried doesn't compare to California, but I expected that. The signature English Breakfast is pretty good though, and I’m always down for tea & scones. Also, NANDOS. If you like simplicity with food, London is the place for you.
Fashion: Ugh. Everyone always looks on point. If it’s not a clean, crisp suit, it’s a pair of black distressed jeans topped off with doc martens and a t-shirt. I love love the grunge, laid-back style of London. No one really tries to out-do anyone else & every style is personalized in some way. All the pretty boys cuff their pants and wear oxfords. Creepers and jellies are popular too.
Culture: London is super chill and artsy - there’s still so many parts that I haven’t explored. Every cafe has it’s own unique decor and atmosphere, street art is always easy to find, and there is always a sense of liveliness and excitement while in London. I love the fact that everyone starts their day with a piece of bread/pastry and an espresso shot, nothing over extravagant. And everyone’s always on the go, so you best stay out of people’s ways, especially in the tube.
Overall: If you ask me, I’m always down to go to London - I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it. And there’s still a bunch I haven’t done or experienced. Especially with a fun group of people, a day in London is always an adventure. Despite the high cost of living, I think I could see myself posted in London for some time in my life. It’s way too exciting and unpredictable of a city to not come & experience for yourself.