Friday, 23 January 2015

5 Things I Love About London.. and 2 That I Hate

I couldn’t realize how amazing London is until I finished getting back to Canberra, my hometown and the capital city of Australia. Now my love for London is no secret to everyone around me. And this love is not bottomless; it has grounds and reasons. Admittedly, there are things that I don’t like about London but that’s with every city, right. The good thing is that the good of London outweighs the bad. Plenty in London stole my heart like the history, the parks, and the tea (oh the afternoon sips). But it was the little things that I observed, made me fall in love with this city.

5 Things I Love About London

The Streets

On the streets of London lies a wealth of art, culture, and history. Turn left and you come across a wonderful art piece, turn right and you see a street performer showing his talent. London streets have become a collage of art pieces from renowned artists like Banksy, Eine, and Herakut. The appeal, romance, and poetry of the artwork overrule the fact that it’s illegal. Exposed to the depredations of urban life, these art pieces stand like wild flowers in spring, to beautify the environs as long as they live.

The talent doesn’t ends with the street art. Whilst walking through the streets of London, one often comes across a street performer, entertaining the audience. From guitar players and magicians to clowns and acrobats, many talented performers have graced the streets and continue to do so. If you want to experience the talent, Covent Garden is a good place to start with.

The Secrets

One thing about London that fascinates me the most is the mystery it nurtures. Hidden behind the veil of tourism, there is a secret London that only locals are aware of. From hidden drinking dens and caves to secret London hotels, there are plenty of things that tourists can explore other than the famous landmarks. I booked a secret hotel in London at, and not just, I saved huge bucks, my stay there turned out to be way better than I could ever imagine. Which door or path may lead you to something quirky in London, you never know. So the idea is to move your feet and take the path. Just the other day, a random address Zero Aldwych led me to a public convenience which is in fact a secret basement bar, Cellar Door. Though, I couldn’t get a seat, as it was jam-packed.

The Food

Being a multi-cultural city, London has every cuisine found on earth-Mexican, Indian, Kiwi, and Japanese to name a few. There are thousands of restaurants serving different cuisines to suit different palates and pockets. No matter how many days you spend in London, you will find a different restaurant every time that serves your native cuisines.  It’s almost criminal to fall in love with London and not fall in love with Anglo-Indian curry. You can try lamb Saag, Gosht with Mushroom rice, and nutty Naan. So bad but yet oh so good!

The People
If you are looking for a city where you can strike up a conversation with anyone in any situation, it has to be London. It’s a very friendly city where you won’t feel like an Oprah in India.  Londoners may guide you in directions whether you ask or not. But make sure that you avoid doing a few things that might annoy them. Do not try cockney rhyming slang. Try this and you will be laughed out of the pub, as Londoners say.

The Culture

Within a few metres, you will find plenty of events going on in London. You need not put efforts to find something unique, there are plenty of things to see within your range-street performers, different language being spoken, historic architectural wonders, and modern skyscrapers.  And the best thing is that all things happening here aren’t just from here. Big international exhibitions, tradeshows, and cultural events take place here. Why? Because it’s London.

And 2 That I Hate

The Tube – Mind the Gap Message

London tube makes it dead easy to travel around the city. If you mind a few stairs along the way, may be a few hundred. And tip of the day is, do not stand on the left side of the escalator. It’s the passing lane for folk who are in a hurry. If you come in their way, you may not like the way they say ‘Mind the Gap’. And by the way, this did not happen to me. Not at all!  Another tip, it’s better to avoid tube travel during the rush hours. You don’t want to travel with 150 people in a space that’s designed for half the number. It’s miserable when you are stuck by the door struggling to fit in. Nope. This did not happen to me. This is probably what I hate about London.

The Weather

If there’s one thing unpredictable, it’s the weather in London. Summers often visit London like a naughty teenager who is often late for dinner. But it’s the biggest myth about London that it rains all the time. However, the truth is it can rain any time. 5 minutes the sun shines and 5 minutes later, there is a heavy burst of rain. Don’t waste time complaining about the weather and carry an umbrella. The sooner you accept this, the better. The idea is to be prepared if it’s in the forecast.

My visit to London turned out to be one to cherish forever. If you have ever visited London, planning to do so, or you are one of the millions living there, share what you love the most about London.