Reflections of London

For years now I have been trying to get myself to London to see the sites and experience one of the world’s greatest cities. In the summer of 2003 I travelled with a friend around many of the great cities of Western Europe, but London was noticeably not included as we didn’t have the time. I knew I would have to make a separate trip to visit London one day, but was unsure as to when I would be able to make it. I thought it would be a great trip to do with my wife, especially since we’re now living in New York. But every time I brought it up she had no interest in going there. If we were going to travel oversees for a vacation, it was not going to be to London, in her mind, not to mention the costs involved in a trip to London. And so it was, London beckoned me and I could not oblige. Until this past weekend.

I spent this past Saturday and most of Sunday in London cramming in as much as I possibly could. I walked a tremendous amount, even by my standards, but learned long ago that walking is the best way to see a City and feel its pulse. Having studied and worked in Manhattan for the past five years, London’s size and numbers of people didn’t faze me one bit. In fact, a few areas of London felt like New York City to me, but with an English twist. I knew prior to my visit that London was a very international city, and it was, with people from all walks of life and corners of the globe living there. From what I saw, the city also appeared relatively clean for its size, the number of people living and visiting there and its age. To be fair, however, most large cities come across as pretty unpolluted when compared to New York City. Although there is still a lot more to be seen in London, the sites I did see were impressive overall and worth the visit hands down.

On Sunday I had a chance to visit the new financial district of Canary Wharf. While it is a pain to get there given its out-of-the-way location, it was a striking place once I made it. It had a similar aura to the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, but was more modern. I can only imagine what Canary Wharf must be like during normal business hours. I’ve wondered a year ago what New York would have grown to if it was not limited to the island of Manhattan. If Manhattan was connected to Long Island somehow (say the East River didn’t exist, for example), New York may have matured much more like London, with the city developing several central business districts spread out over a good portion of land instead of simply redeveloping land on the existing island. All in all, I loved London, and if you could ever afford to live well there, it would be an exciting place to be.

This Friday I head back to dirty, rough and rugged New York – another great city and the U.S.’s only global city. I like travelling abroad, but New York is home and I’ll be ready to go back on Friday. Now I just need an excuse to get myself to Tokyo for a week.

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One Response

  1. Nice to see know you enjoyed your visit – please do come back again soon.
    I live in London myself and don’t notice all the awesome places that other people see. I guess that’s the way it is.

    All the best and good luck

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