London Love (by Carmen)
So the round the world trip begins! First stop is my favorite city, London. We only spent a couple days there on our way to Spain, but I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve said before that I have relationships with cities. Between London and me, it’s complicated. I totally fell for London when Nathan and I moved there in 2006. After 6 months, our work visas were up and it was time to head back to California so Nathan could go to grad school. I left with a heavy heart and a promise to return as soon as possible. Well, life happened and it has now been 6 years since we lived there. Now I am totally ready to go back, except the city (or I should say the conservative politicians currently in power) doesn’t want me. The difficulty of getting a work visa today is certainly putting a strain on the relationship. At this point, I’m wondering whether my love for London will survive or if we’re fated to be old pals that see each other every once in a while.
Oh London, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
1. Transport. Transport is my passion and career. The fact that London’s transport is so excellent earns it big points in my book. From the state of the art traffic control center to the extensive tube network to the double decker buses to the bike sharing to the wayfinding signs for pedestrians, London is always on looking ahead and making getting around easier.
2. Diversity. When we worked in London, Nathan and I worked with and met people from all over the world. The city is the very definition of cosmopolitan and I believe it was a perfect setting for this year’s Olympics.
3. Food. With diversity, there are invariably comes good food options. Pretty much anything you can imagine will exist in London, especially good Indian. And British food is modernizing as well by using old standards such as stews and roasts and adding new cooking techniques, seasonings or ingredients. There are definitely still a lot of bad restaurants but if you look a little harder you will still find endless options. Knowing where to go is made easier by the London food blogging community, which is so much fun to read it inspired me to start a blog in the first place!
4. Culture. Free museums are awesome. They make it possible to stop in for an hour instead of having to plan a whole day around seeing a museum. Add this to all the cultural events, theater, art shows, markets, etc. that are always happening around the city and you can always find something entertaining to do. Among museums you have to pay for, the London Transport Museum perfectly combines two passions of mine. I can totally geek out climbing all the old double deckers. And don’t even get me started about the gift shop.
5. History. I really love knowing that generations before me have shared the same space. It’s ironic that I live in California, which considers anything beyond 50 years old to be historic. I like it when places are centuries old, and that isn’t hard to find in London. Founded by the Romans, it has layers and layers of history to explore.
The good news is that Nathan and I are going to give it a shot and at least try to secure jobs there after we finish traveling. Even if it doesn’t work out it is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all…