Tuesday, November 13, 2007

London Town

When I was on the phone to mum the other day we were talking about how much holiday I had left and she suggested that if Anthony and I came to stay we could go into London on a couple of day trips. When I mentioned this to Anthony I said it would be quite cool as he's never been to London to visit (only driving with work) and that I "haven't done a real trip to London for ages".

Except...I've never lived in London so really all my trips there have been as a visitor/tourist.

Now I probably used to go into London at least once a month when growing up. We'd visit my grandparents (mothers side) who lived in Leyton (where both my parents are from) every few months, there would be visits to Frank and Teresa (parents friends from Libya) who lived in Battersea and to Ceri (mums old flatmate) and her family in Harrow, and pretty much every school holiday mum would take us in to visit a museum with friends - usually Ceri and her daughter Emily when we'd do swap visits (her to us, me to them).

With all of this I never really felt like a tourist. I've always felt Tube-savvy, checking out my route before hand and knowing alternate routes in case of problems and I always carry a little A-Z with me in case I have to walk somewhere (rather than meandering around shops). I've never really got the hang of the buses, mum never used to take us on them but on the times I went into London with dad (just me and him as a treat for me and break for mum) we would catch them as he always knew exactly which ones went where.
The only time I ever really felt touristy and like a visitor was the time I went in with a boyfriend and he really acted like a tourist, all gawpyness and asking loudly which station we needed for Downing Street or Buckingham Palace. In vain did I point out that it was pretty damn easy to walk from one t'other, we had to go to the tube station mentioned in his guidebook. Never again.

I can remember clearly the three times I went into London with friends from school. (I know, only three)
  • Carmen, after we got our GCSE results and we walked between Bank and St Pauls rather than get the tube. We wandered round various shops and parks and she managed to get sand in her shoes when we walked across Rotten Row.
  • Jo, when she met me at Liverpool Street and we went shopping in Covent Garden avoiding all the trendy shops and wandering through the back streets and nattering.
  • Laura, after our last 'A' Level Biology exam when she went to a very posh hairdressers, we had lunch out and bought perfume in Harrods.

They were all times when I felt grown-up and in control of my own trip into the city, probably why I hated being dictated to by guidebook. My last trip into London was when I saw the lovely Mark, a very nice day of wandering round and spending no money.

Even though I feel a bit like a fraud, I can't wait to "show" Anthony around. Silly but true. I want to go and see all the museums and galleries again, I want to go round the conservatory at the Barbican, I want to wander round the shops with someone who won't act like a tourist and will hopefully feel relatively at home there, even if he does think that Birmingham should be the capital city instead.

1 comment:

David said...

It is hard for me to describe the impression London left to me during my seven-day camping trip. On the one hand, it is such a famous city that I often felt unreal whilst I was there. But on the other hand, I have to say it is the most interesting city I have ever visited. It is a city complied with old and new, home and foreign,old Rolls-Roys and fashionable Limo London vehicles. The first thing that I enjoyed was paintings. It was the first time I had seen paintings by reputable
painters such as Monet, Seurat, Pissarro, Cezanne, Picasso, Gauguin and Van Gogh.The impression of them was the most valuable part of this trip for me. Garden was the second aspect that I enjoyed about London, be it Kew Garden or just the small wildlife garden adjoining to the Natural and History Museum. Another aspect about London that I love was the music at underground sections.
Another place I should mention is Greenwich. The last aspect I would like to mention is the camping itself. It was an enjoyable experience overall, despite the fact that it rained a lot during the last week.I think everyone, if the chance is allowed, should go to visit London at least once in one’s life time, for only you can identify, by being there, the aspects of it that are unique and interesting to you.