red. read. red.

Odd to admit it, but I actually enjoyed the people more than the city while in London; and that’s not just because I could understand the word spoken on the streets. I found the British friendly, warm and of course the accent is adorable (children jabbering to their mums….just darling) but it was the people I truly enjoyed spending time with was the staff and residents at the hostel. Somehow they became like a little family over the course of my 5-day stay. I won’t take 4 paragraphs to explain fully…but I sure did have a sad goodbye as I pulled my bag out the Astor Museum Hostel door.


I have stayed in hostels before, but in a group and then in Copenhagen where…let’s just say it wasn’t the best experience. Originally I told myself (& others) hostels would be fun and my way to meet new people…the great part is my premonition came true. Go down to the common area and plop next to someone from Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, Australia (probably 17 of them), and many other countries. If your trip doesn’t include every European country, don’t worry…it is likely someone in your room dawns from that land. Chat ‘em up.

I don’t think I could see myself working in a hostel – although it sounds fun – I would probably last a week; and not because of the late nights and forced patient demeanor while checking in a group from Geneva. Reason being – at least in my case from London – you spend all this time with awesome people, eat with ‘em, chat for hours at night, see the city…and than a few days later, they skip off to their next destination. That’s not my normal approach to making friends.

Anyway, this was just my little way to say I am enjoying traveling alone…more than I convinced myself I would. Not because I am antisocial, but because it has allowed me to be free from the obligations and duties of traveling in a group. It’s not scary, dodgy, or worth any worry and it’s an opportunity to mark up a few more international friends.


the ten.

London was another city (like Stockholm) that I could see myself living in à If I was ready to take on the sheer size. Feeling right at home here, here are a few observances/likes/dislikes I had of the Little London.

1)      The grocery stores are the best. All the food is beautifully packaged, “fresh-made daily,” healthy, and priced in the British Pound which saved me the iPhone Currency Converter from being permanently fixed in my hand. All the stores/cafes boast about 73 great sandwich packs (& other meals) (do they ever cook their own meals?)  that are cheap and oh-so yummy. Took me through almost every lunch and dinner.

2)      The red buses and red telephone booths really do dominate London. Like a total tourist, I got super excited and snapped a picture of the infamous phone booth the second I saw one…come to find out they really are on every corner and actually about every 15 feet. Lost their novelty after 3 blocks of walking. Double-Decker red bus…..brings me to 3.


3)      I know I mentioned the massive size and it’s not just the size of the city – coincidentally a ton of people fill up the gigantic city. There are so. many. people. everywhere. They didn’t just create the double-decker bus for a cutetouristy-take-home figurine. If I was ever in a hurry or wanting to be alone, ha-ha, just stay indoors cuz the streets are crowded and subways just the same. NEXT!

4)      Stockholm. Paris. Gothenburg. London. They ALL have incredible public transit. If it weren’t for the tube in London…I can only imagine what the streets would look like. Not to mention it’s so fast and convenient. LESSON: I finally figured out what, “mind the gap” means. Woops, never knew. There is a space in between the tube and sidewalk…”mind” means watch out…got it.


5)      The toilets suck. Odd topic. But really, they don’t even flush. Annoying.

6)      The coffee is darn good. Sadly, I saw a massive amount of Starbucks throughout the city (I enjoy seeing local shops…not what we have at home) but it was really very good and even better than the Swedish coffee – although – they never go for fika so I am still partial to Swedish habit.

7)      Well suited. Money money money…mon-Aye. I can only imagine the amount true Londoners spend to fill their closets. The fashion here is much more professional and formal than in Paris, Denmark or Sweden. I thought everyone wore suits, then I figured out I happened to be walking through the main financial  district, district when work got out, but either way – I enjoyed the preppy-formal-wear look Londoner’s boast.

8)      Hide and seek. A fun game – but not when it’s between you and a garbage can. Apparently, the city got all sensitive about garbage cans or “bins” after the bombings that took place a while back. It seems that bombs fit nicely inside bins and therefore they sure are hard to come by in the city. I found myself carrying around banana peels and such forever until I found a bin. Not a fun game.


9)      FREEtown. I think they have a pretty good tourism center…every Museum in the whole city if FREE entrance – which is good to know – even though I am not a super raged museum goer. I did, however, go The Tate Museum of Modern Art which was super cool. Modern was a clue that I wouldn’t be staring at medieval coins, but rather I got to see kitchen table set that was the size of a 1-story home. It was supposed to remind us of how big we really are in the world. Fun idea.

10)   Last but not least…the Green Glory. Hyde Park. Regents Park. Russel Square. Soho. Many others. I cannot even imagine how much they spend on keeping up the grounds of these GIGANTIC parks. They are incredible. Remind me of the Garden of Eden…had I been there. They are the size of a city and you could easily a) get lost b) spend all day there c) enjoy a nice run d) people watch. I’ll stop there. I’ve been in some nice gardens and parks in Seattle, but these, are like none other. Gorgeous.



~ by Andria on October 7, 2009.

One Response to “red. read. red.”

  1. amazing pictures

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