While London hasn’t been my favorite place to live, it’s most definitely not my least favorite. I will admit it was a difficult adjustment from the nature-accessibility of Portland to the concrete-jungle of London. While there are some great parks, privacy and solitude are pretty much a dream here, or a very long, expensive journey away. However, I get to that stuff in a previous post.
This post is all about the positive side of my time here. For all the whining I did in the previous post, the better bits of London far outweigh the bad. Its a diverse city, with a lot going on. That is one of the reasons why I don’t think Brexit will make as big of a negative impact on the UK, but that’s a very different post altogether. Let’s get on with it, as they say here.
I know I ragged on the food in the other post, but that was a very specific part of the cuisine which is available here. London is very hit or miss with food. When they get it wrong, in the case of Mexican food, they nail it on the head with other cuisines. London is well known for great Indian, Turkish, Chinese, and whole host of others.
China Town has amazing restaurant after amazing restaurant, while pretty much any Indian restaurant is guaranteed to be good at a minimum, with many being great. You can get incredible Italian and German food as well. Being so close to the rest of Europe means it doesn’t take much for someone to move here and open even a cafe serving their homelands signature dishes.
Even a lot of the pubs will serve food of the highest quality. As I have highlighted on a lot of my Pubs, Pints, and Pies posts, they make them fresh when ordered. It’s great, and a good way to put on the pounds. I will definitely miss the accessibility of great food from around (most) of the world.
You don’t need to be Magellan to know London is in Europe. While it’s not centrally located, the furthest flight across Europe was roughly the same time it took me to fly from Portland to Detroit. Flying to Amsterdam is about 45 minutes of actual time in the air, it takes longer to taxi at Schiphol Airport than it does to fly there.
It’s not just the actual proximity though, the trains are awesome. I took one to Manchester, and to Cardiff twice. They aren’t the cheapest, but its so nice to just sit back and relax. No insane security lines, the staff is solid, and you can get up and move around whenever you want. However, if you want to fly it’s insanely easy.
London has five airports: Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Gatwick and London City. Some of them are a bit far out depending on what side of the city you live, but it pretty much ensures you can find a flight anywhere, at anytime. While the airports vary in quality (I will NOT miss Gatwick), it’s still great. I once got from London City Airport to my place in under 45 minutes, and that was with a quick stop-off at the grocery store.
I have moved around a lot in my life. The one thing I have come to realize is, the people make the place. You could be living in the worst place in the world, but if you’re surrounded with good people it makes it better. While London isn’t perfect (no place is) and I have run across many people who I wish to never see again, there are some great people here. People I wish I could take with me.
That will be the toughest part about leaving. I genuinely enjoy many of the people I work with and have met through my travels around the city. Let alone my Australian friends who have moved here since I arrived. However, it’s something I am getting used to.
London is a great, but it’s just not for me in the long run. I’ve lived in cities for much of my adult life, and enjoy it. As much as I enjoy driving, I hate traffic, so anytime I can walk or take public transport I am in. However, being cooped up in a box in a concrete jungle just ain’t for me. But it was great for a year!