As I write this (first edit on the train commuting funnily enough) I’ve started to realise how much I miss London. It’s been over 3 years since I left and so much has happened in that time that has rocked my world, that maybe I haven’t had space to really think about the little things that made my life in London so fantastic.
Reminiscing with a few workmates lately it’s brought the memories back to life.
Those little moments of the local food market near Kings Cross where I worked. My co-working-space mates and I would go down and get a tray of mixed curries and deep fried eggplant. We’d go to the local park and eat on a park bench watching the squirrels and pigeons play amongst the leaves.
No plans and saving for the next set of travels? That’s fine, in London you could venture out to a new gallery or museum that you haven’t visited this year (there’s so many options bound to see something new). I could meander through a weekend market on food or crafts, heading out for brunch or a curry with friends afterwards. Markets were incredible in London, from Camden to Spitafields, Hoxton flower market to little markets tucked away in Leather Lane and Bermondsey.
The variety of food is incredible in London and much cheaper than in New Zealand. Almost any high street contains a wide array of eating out options. I didn’t make the most of these opportunities (always saving for travels), but the cheap pints after a touch or tag rugby game would never go amiss!
Then there’s the parks. London does good parks. There’s the flower parks like Regents Park, the parks with lots of big trees and lakes like Green and Hyde Parks. Then there’s the ones with incredible views like Greenwich.
I’d often create weekend walking routes where I’d venture out to see an exhibition, then walk via a park or along the Thames to another destination or to see something I’ve heard about, always finding new and exciting things to experience.
I’ll never forget the novelty when I first started working in London, walking past the giant Royal Courts of Justice each day. That building was so big, old and beautiful I’d have to pinch myself that I actually worked near it.
There were the fun afternoon picnics in the local park with Pimms with workmates from my first job in London when the summer days broke through.
The evenings celebrating a Kiwi Christmas at the top of New Zealand house looking out over all of London.
The incredible fireworks that were timed to music at Clapham Common and the vast display at Blackheath.
The pop up events, gallery exhibitions, musicals or simply the Sunday roasts with good friends in a cosy English pub. The English may screw with fish n chips, but they do fantastic Sunday roasts!
The afternoon teas… oh they were always an experience. New themes and a nice excuse to get a bit dressed up and hang out with a good friend or two!
Now people living in London may complain about their commutes, but trust me in Auckland, NZ it’s not much better. In fact I had a shorter commute to work in London than I do now. The transport system was fantastic. A train would arrive in less than 5 minutes at most stations to take you anywhere you wanted to go. No need for a car. You could drink and not worry about getting home safely. There were night buses if by chance the tube finished before you did. You could take a train to the airport easily or to Waterloo to catch one anywhere in the UK, even to places in Europe! No car or plane needed! Enjoy seeing the countryside pass by as you travel to your destination, get up and walk around whenever you want!
Being a creative person, I loved the art in the city. The incredible graffiti artworks in East London. The pop up Wild in Art trails would lead you through new areas of the city that you’d never been to before. Marvel at the architecture from beautiful old to ultra modern and hip. Or take a day trip up to Liverpool to see the journey of Alice in Wonderland being created from the early days to now.
Then there’s the super Christmassy feel you get from London. Lights, sometimes snow, cosy pubs, fantastic window displays in shops. It really feels like Christmas when you’re in London.
Oh London, how I miss thee.