Arrived in: London via a 2-hour train ride from Belgium
My first impression is: the high energy and movement feel constant. It makes sense, being one of the most popular and powerful cities in the world. As a visitor, I perceive it as shiny, regal, and bursting with history. However, my interactions with people who live here tell me there are things to love and loathe about being an actual resident.
I'm most excited about: ALL OF IT. Touring the Tower of London (I have a fascination with monarchy history), seeing the Crown Jewels, watching the changing of the guards (yes, very touristy but guess what I'm a tourist!), snapping a photo at Platform 9 and 3/4's, experiencing the contrasting vibes of London's neighborhoods, and of course, eating more delicious food and searching out good coffee shops.
I'm surprised that: it is SO easy to get around using the tube. A train every 3-5 minutes feels like a miracle! The tube itself, however, is not so luxurious with crowds and no AC. To make it a little more fun, I've found that if you close your eyes on some of the routes, it kinda feels like you're on a rollercoaster!
- "Work hard, play hard" is a common motto and it's not uncommon to work a 10-12 hour day, 5 days a week. (depending on the industry you're in).
- London used to consistently rank in the list of "world's priciest cities to live in" according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. This year it fell to 24th and is cheaper than the cost of living in New York for the first time in 15 years.
The best thing is that:
- I got to meet a fellow writer and Seattleite, Angela Travels, on my first day here and I have another round of great hosts that are pointing me in the right direction for my daily explorations.
- I had to purchase a few new clothes because it's been so warm! I've worn the same 5 outfits for 6 weeks and having sme variety gives me some serious joy. Hopefully they all fit back into my bag when it's time to go home. :)