A friend once said that the most surreal aspect of London is how oddly familiar the city feels, mostly because of how iconic its sites and buildings are.
I certainly understood what she meant the minute I arrived in the great capital of England. I experienced iconic London immediately. I arrived via the train at King’s Cross, familiar to me from having read and seen the Harry Potter books. Next, I rode one of London’s famous red double-decker buses to my friend’s flat. Then we went to the South Bank to walk along the Thames River and saw the famous London Eye.
London is one of the great cities of the world, where money flows freely. There are quite a few rich people in Toronto but there is money and there is MON-AY. Department stores like Harrod’s and Liberty don’t exist in Toronto, and there was no shortage of luxury stores in the city. Walking in South Kensington I saw rents as high as 50K GBP per month! The city reminds me of New York with its wide avenues, beautiful buildings, and free-rolling cash.
Also like New York, there is no shortage of things to do, places to see, and there is a neighbourhood for everyone. You can hang out with the hipsters in Shoreditch and Brick Lane, see the touristy sites near Buckingham Palace, frolic in the park at Hampstead Heath and get your Bohemian on at Camden.
Another great thing about the city is all national museums are free, and their museums are world-class. My favourite was a small private collection called Courtauld which features an original of Manet’s A Bar At The Folies-Bergère.I thought London was a beautiful city but it was terribly busy. Piccadilly and Oxford, near where my friend work, were overwhelmingly busy. While I liked London, I felt Scotland was closer to my heart and spirit.
More photos from London