You know those expectations that you have about people or places that you really admire or want to visit and then if you ever meet that person or go to that place, you’re disappointed because the real thing couldn’t possibly live up to the hype?
That’s just not applicable when it comes to London.
I don’t think I had ever been to a place that I wholeheartedly fell in love with before I visited London and god two days was just not enough. That being said though, I feel that mum and I deserve a medal for the amount of stuff we crammed into 48 hours because by the time we left, it felt like we’d been away for a fortnight.
First, the tube is possibly the greatest thing that has ever happened to a poor student who can’t afford (read: is too afraid) to drive in London. Anyone who knows me well is aware of how much I hate Sydney trains, but I can do the tube. The tube understands me and I understand it. It knows that I will get on public transport with the hope that it will take me exactly where I need to go. It knows that when I haven’t had a cup of coffee, I don’t want anyone to talk to me or near me on public transport and dammit it knows that when it’s pissing down with rain, I am more than happy to commute in a network of former sewage tunnels rather than actually face the elements.
Just remember: walk with purpose.
Next we move on to the locals.
It’s true, Londoners can be pretty rude and unresponsive, but I’d be naive to think that that didn’t happen everywhere. True, they don’t talk to you and if you ask for help they usually pretend not to hear, but considering my previous experiences in France, it doesn’t actually bother me. For the most part, the Brits resemble Australians. Just better dressed, better spoken and with their noses turned up slightly. That’s okay though, because no matter what, I will always know that it was an American who handed our lovely and enthusiastic tour guide Gavin a book on bipolar disorder with the proviso that “it could do him some good”.
Something to be said however, I seem to have been mistaken for a Canadian on more than one occasion in London… Come on guys, I’m an Aussie. Eh?
After 20 years, a reunion between mum and a friend who travelled through Africa together is a friendship that I hope to find as I get older. It’s been this long and through the marvels of Facebook, two women who have a freakish amount of things in common were reunited amidst a collection of toilet jokes and some seriously impressive sarcasm. Livvy, I’m really glad you’re part of the family now, thanks for your welcome – I can’t wait to see you and Tash and Rue very soon!
In light of our next stop, it seems appropriate to note something very important about the French:
They are disapproving of the English language everywhere they go, even when they go to England.
I’m afraid I’m going to get a bit philosophical right now: I’m quite sure that the most important thing I learned in London is to face your fears. Usually, they’re a lot worse in your head than they are in real life. For example, I have a crippling fear of scary things happening in front of me. Please understand: I am completely fine (sort of) with horror movies – they can’t touch me, they can’t creep up behind me and depending on how loud the TV is, usually they don’t emit pants shitting blood curdling cries that are so loud you assume the fetal position. That is not the case when it comes to The Woman in Black, touted as the West End’s scariest production. After mum purchased said tickets to pants shitting performance*, it took a good 4 hours of mental preparation and reading spoilers on Wikipedia to actually face this play. The Fortune Theatre on Russell St at Covent Garden is a small intimate theatre, capable of filling up with fog that rises from the stage. Cue Woman in Black emitting blood curdling cries and you’ve got a recipe for me to need therapy for the rest of my life.
It’s okay though, I survived, the performance was incredible and I haven’t seen The Woman in Black emerge from any dark corners…
*its an expression for all of you who think it actually happened that way.
London has been incredible.
The shopping was great, the company was even better and now, on the Eurostar to Gare du Nord, I can’t wait to come back and maybe even stick around more permanently.