For the past week I have been back in London, the first city I ever stepped foot in outside of North America way back in 2006 as I switched airports briefly on the way to France for 21 days on a University trip. Later at the end of 2007 I would find myself back here actually having time to explore the city instead of just the sites from the train. On that 2007 trip it was my first time traveling alone, as a tip I have always said when you first start traveling by yourself, choose countries where they speak your native language, for me that was London. After two days of seeing the city I hopped on my first Contiki tour around Europe which to this date is still one of my best trips that I have ever taken and I have made some real friends for life. Fast forward to 2009, twice in 2010 and now twice in 2011 I have visited London and I think right now here on this trip I have realized that I really, really do love this city. You might think I could have figured this out before my 7th visit but this time I know for sure.
Right now in November it is probably my favorite time to enjoy this city. The leaves are changing on the trees and they fall at my feet for me to kick, crunching like cornflakes as I walk too and from my hostel (the Equity Point in London) and the Paddington Tube station. The weather is just the perfect temperature not to cold or warm, (thankfully making the tube bareable). At the same time the Christmas decorations are starting to come out and Regent Street is full of sparkling lights.
I love all of the shopping here in London, especially visiting my favorite store Top Shop, where if I can’t find any clothes that I love then I can definitely find some nice bling to make my friends at home envious, one of these days I might actually remember to buy them something while I’m there too…
This week in particular made me happy because not only did I get to meet up with my London living friends but also the World Travel Market was taking place so a whole bunch of my travel blogging friends from all around the world were in town. Some I was meeting for the first time, others I was sharing one more of many pints together and getting to know them even more and becoming true friends. (shout outs to Kelley Ferro, Kate McCulley and Ayngelina Brogan). While here I even passed a guy in the street that I swear I went to high school with and my visit before last a friend whom I had met in Spain that lives in London introduced me to a Canadian friend of hers and I most definitely went to high school with her. Travel Blogger or not I’m pretty sure that if you travel everyone will pass through London at least once in their life and it will always be a great place to meet and catch up with friends new and old.
(photo above: Ayngelina, Kate and myself enjoying the World Travel Market together)
Another way that London makes me happy is through its diversity. Sitting on the tube I can hear 3 different languages, on my way to “afternoon” tea followed by a sit down with a friend at a Hookah
restaurant, stand, store, bar? followed by wine at an art gallery and Pimms and beer at a bar named after a puppet with a guy that was celebrating because he and his architecting firm just won a competition on designing the first hotel on the moon. ( I swear that actually happened) London never stops amazing me.
This week I feel like I have been walking around with a goofy grin on my face and I have said “I love my life” more than once, lets just hope it stays that way. Today I am headed off to Wales with Chris the Aussie Nomad, followed by a trip to Teneriefe in the Canary Islands on Monday and then to Berlin on Wednesday before finally going home on the 22nd.
London I’ll be back soon enough!
What city makes you the happiest when you visit?