London: First Impressions
Hello everyone and my sincerest apologies for my absence of late – how rude of me. Let it be known I have recently made the move to London, so the process of packing up my life and relocating has kept me somewhat busy and all aflutter. I have also been struck down by some god awful flu-ish thing since New Year’s Day and I kid you not have not even had energy enough to write. No excuses though... my apologies and a belated Happy New Year to all! On with the blog.
The aforementioned move to London has so far been genuinely thrilling and so far nothing but positive. Well, 99% positive. I am struggling seeing beautiful summer pictures from friends and family every time I go on social media, but that aside... The weather actually hasn’t been nearly as bad as everyone would have you think London is. Below is a pic from my first full day here, and it hasn’t been much worse since.
Barely a cloud to be seen!
I haven’t had much chance to look around just yet, there is so much I want to do, I can’t wait to get exploring! In the meantime, while I am still fresh off the plane and everything here is new to me, I thought I would share my first impressions of this famous city. Some are a bit random, some are generic things I am sure any visitor appreciates, but these are the things I have been actively reflecting on since my arrival.
1. Everything is made of brick Within an hour of my plane touching down I was climbing out of my first tube ride into the middle of the city and was immediately struck by the beautiful brick buildings. From the suburbs to the city, there is a lot of red and brown brick around and it gives the place a very different feel from home. It makes is all feel instantly older, you get a sense of the age of this city, even though some of the brick buildings are relatively new. There is something elegant about brick, something cultured and classic that wooden buildings just don’t quite possess. It's used so much more here than in New Zealand, so everywhere I go, the buildings remind me I’m somewhere new. I love it.
2. There are squirrels and foxes everywhere, and I’m way too excited about it. I’m sure the novelty will wear off on this one, because they truly are everywhere, but coming from a country where the only place you see squirrels and foxes is in Disney films, I am pretty friggen excited about this. I can’t help thinking I must be some sort of real-life Disney princess every time I see one. The dream will never die.
3. The tube is amazing. The end. Granted, I come from a city with a seriously awful public transport system, but the London Underground is genius. There's really nothing else to be said.
4. It’s a mixing pot alright. New Zealanders aren’t the only people who make the move to London. I can’t walk down the street without encountering a plethora of languages, accents and cultural attire. It makes London a thriving hub where people from all over the world meet, and the culture crossings means there are amazing market stalls, street performers and food stops all over town. Turkish, Indian, Korean – what do you feel like today? I found a couple of Kiwi coffee shops too. I think I’ll be just fine here.
5. Historical monuments and buildings as far as the eye can see Coming from a country where our oldest surviving building was built in 1821, the history in London can kind of blow your mind. Every time I see a famous historic building I majorly geek out, then calm myself down just enough to take a cheesy tourist shot. Don’t think anyone will be taking me for a local anytime soon.
First visit to Tower Bridge today, trying to act cool, calm and collected
Outside the Household Calvary Museum and loving my surroundings
6. Groceries are cheap Like, seriously cheap. While London may be an expensive place to live in some ways, going grocery shopping is much less of a financial strain than it is often is in New Zealand. It helps that most food isn't taxed in the U.K.
7. Entertainment abounds A major perk of living in one of the world’s most happening cities? There are music concerts, stage shows, sports tournaments, exhibitions and festivals galore. Everywhere I go I see ads for the world’s best live performance shows – The Lion King, Les Misérables, Billy Elliot, Wicked – and gigs. I have already taken full advantage of these offerings... I am off to see only one of my favourite performers of all time, Paolo Nutini, tomorrow night, and have scheduled in a date to see this amazing exhibition with my sister in a couple of weeks. What’s next?!
Just casually off to see one of my all time faves, Paolo Nutini, tomorrow night
8. The old and the new coexist beautifully here London is one of the oldest cities in the world, and yet it is also extremely modern. While a lot of the city’s history was lost during The Great Fire of London and the extensive bombings in World War II, a remarkable amount remains. You'll find it dotted throughout the modern buildings that have filled the damaged gaps and continue to grow around these historic gems. It is beautiful to see the way the old and the new go hand in hand here.
9. International travel is gloriously easy Something I am sure would not be so exciting for many, the ease with which one can travel overseas here has me already planning trips to the continent left, right and centre. (Just figuring out how I'll fund them... I'll make it work.) I do come from one of the most isolated countries in the world, an island nation at the bottom of the globe, remember. Here, you can take a train underwater to France. TO FRANCE! Something I plan to do. Soon. One thing’s for sure... it will make for some good blog content!