London… London is dirty. Really, really dirty. The streets are filthy and so many buildings are in need of repair. London is not so dirty that you can’t walk around. I definitely managed to clomp through a good bit of it but it’s so noticeable that you can’t avoid it. I expected a grand city decked out in pomp and circumstance fit for royalty. That version of London is certainly present, properly vested as only the English can pull off. It’s just such a contrast to kicking trash out of your way. I definitely found it odd that the subway, or tube, was cleaner than the sidewalks. That was a new one for me.
English accents are so entertaining. My trip encompassed the posh to the common, each one of them very nice and each one easy to understand. I knew this was a comfortable respite as I was heading to Paris next and I know absolutely no French.
I came into London via King’s Cross. The ‘Look Closely’ post is the Platform 9 ¾ filmed in the Harry Potter movie. In real life it is actually the archway between platforms four and five. I know; I was disappointed too. While King’s Cross is beautiful, I recommend walking over to St. Pancras’ Station. I left London through St. Pancras but was rushing too much to get photos. It is a beautiful building. My first planned attraction was the Tower of London, a must see for every visitor. It is a beautiful area, a lovely way to spend an afternoon, entertaining, and full of history. It’s also where they keep the Crown Jewels. I can’t pass up shiny, sparkly stones. The above photo was taken from the Tower grounds. I always think of that bridge as the ‘London Bridge’ even though I know it isn’t. It’s official status is the ‘Tower Bridge’. After that I focused on my original purpose for going to London.
Most of what I read is historical fiction; specifically, Regency England historical fiction. I’m the sort of person that curls up with a good book, climbs inside, befriends the characters, and forgets the outside world until the last page. All of the places in my books are still there. <insert happy dance here> GO English traditions! Best yet, even the seedy places where the murder part of the murder mystery takes place is now clean, safe, and fashionable! Well… everywhere perhaps except Hyde Park. Hyde Park still has some work to do but more on that later. Mayfair is still a park; Covent Garden which was previously the easiest place to pick up prostitutes and get your pocket picked, is a hopping shopping are; and even Seven Dials whose former life was inhabited by the city’s opium dens, is marked as the central hub of Covent Garden’s shopping.
I enjoyed London. I would have enjoyed it more if not for the fiasco and the poor neighborhood but those are the pitfalls of travel sometimes. Someday I would like to return with a quadrupled budget to take in more art, hear a symphony, and of course; ride through Hyde Park in the daylight.