Thursday, November 21, 2013

London's Redemption: Things I Love

Two days ago, I did a comparison to see which city I am a bigger fan of - London or Paris. Well, the math put me on Team Paris. And quite frankly, I'm a little upset about this! (not really, I'm more confused than anything.) Technically, this is my fault because I created the categories, but we're not blaming anyone here, are we? Well, today I am here to tell you what I absolutely LOVE about London, and why I think London is THE BEST CITY in the entire world. Yes... the entire world!
{at Madison's on top of One New Change}
1.) Parks - If you read my other post, you probably saw this coming from a mile away. Greater London is full of beautiful parks! There are several major ones super close to the city - Richmond (its largest but not as close to central), Regents, Hyde, Green, St James' (those three all kinda run together), Greenwich, and many more. If it weren't for these large green spaces, I don't think Londoners would be able to get some relaxing fresh air.
{on top of Greenwich Park's hill}
2.) Markets - One of my absolute favorite things about London is all of the markets. I can't even say how many there are. And I'm not talking about farmers' markets with produce only. I'm talking large markets with foods of all kinds (fresh, frozen, hot, specialty, you name it!), clothing, trinkets, art and whatever else you can think of all in one area. My favorite market? It's a tie between Portobello Road, Camden, and Borough, and a close second is Southbank's Real Food... but I haven't even been to all of the "superb" markets yet. If it weren't for our teeny tiny flat and having to carry it all on the tube, I would spend loads of mullah at each market... and I don't even like to spend money!
{at Borough Market's Green Market}
3.) Easy Access - Although the tube has its problems, we can't complain because it has been through so much! You can get practically anywhere on the tube. And if not the tube, buses run everywhere! And if not the buses, you can rent bikes. And if you want to go farther, you can hop on a train. It is so nice to not have to drive anywhere! Want to get out? London is a world hub! There aren't non-stop flights to everywhere in the world, but its pretty darn close. If it's a choice between saving $100 or getting there three hours earlier, I'm choosing to get there faster!
{the Lego Underground Map located at Green Park Station}
4.) Lack of Boredom - How can someone get bored in London? It is practically impossible! Other than the parks and the markets, there are way too many restaurants out there to try. There are way too many shows out there to see. There are way to many concerts out there to attend. There are way too many sporting events out there to cheer at. Walk up to a tube map, close your eyes, stick your finger on the map, and get off at the station where your finger landed. New station, new exploring, always fun!
{Shad Thames and Butlers Wharf near Tower Bridge}
5.) Food - This may be quite the stretch for some of you, but London really does have some great restaurants out there. It takes some understanding that you might pay a fortune for a meal, and it might not be worth it. OR you could pay very little, and it be fantastic! Aside from the price, there are so many options from which to choose - Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, American, Mexican, and so much more!! Forget TripAdvisor, get on a forum and see what locals have suggested.
{tacos from Cantina Laredo - mexican food is a treat!}
6.) Drink - Ales... so so many, from so many places! I tried a new one the other day at Porky's BBQ in Camden - Fordham Copperhead Amber Ale - it could be my favorite! Sorry, Doom Bar. But get this, it's a Maryland brew, so look for it in the States! And then, there's Cocktails... it's like a contest. Restaurants and bars make there own special concoctions, they even have books for their lists. They take pride in how they make their drinks... its like art. Note: Cocktails here are very very expensive (usually over $15), so enjoy them slowly :-)
{at Sushi Samba in Heron Tower}
7.) Nooks and Crannies and Secrets - While walking to a pub with my mom and dad, it looked like I was going into a private area for residents of the giant homes around us. My mom stopped and said, "Where are you going?" I said, "It's a shortcut." I took probably a quarter-mile off of our walk and went up a little alley of stairs. These little secret places are all over London, and you know they have been there for a really really long time. They always give me happy thoughts.
{Brew Wharf Yard at Borough Market}
8.) The Little Things - Those little negative things that drive us crazy actually make the little positive things that much better! You know when you visit a new city, and you're like "Oh cool! They have a _____ here!" and you get all excited? Well, in London, that happens every time we explore, usually multiple times. I don't drive and I don't eat donuts, but this Krispy Kreme drive-thru sure made me want get behind the wheel and order a dozen hot ones!
{in New Malden}
The day that Luke and I are told we have to move from London will be a sad sad day. Hopefully, we will have some idea of where we will be going next to give us time to get used to the idea of living elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure I will still leave kicking and screaming. Remember when I was hesitant to move to London? Yeah... I must have been taking those crazy pills.

What do you love about the city that you live in?

It is possible to get married on the London Eye. It will stop for one minute at the top for the vows, and it costs abou£2,000 (approx. $3,200).

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