London: First Impressions

Trip Start Aug 07, 2006
1
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24
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Thursday, August 24, 2006

We spent two days in London earlier in the week and were surprised by how empty it seemed - there were hardly any cars, just about everyone we met seemed to be a foreigner and the sun shone the whole time. As far as first impressions go it was pretty damn good.

So far we have learnt several things about London and British people:
- Smiling and saying hello will be met with blank looks
- You must keep to the RIGHT (not the left, even though it's more logical) when walking up and down stairs, otherwise you collide with very grouchy looking locals
- When asking for directions, trust no-one, not even bus drivers. Just coz they're in control of a vehicle, doesn't mean they actually know where they are
- When queuing at supermarkets and post offices you join one big line, not several small ones. When you get to the front you have to wait for a voice on an intercom to tell you which counter to go to, even though you are perfectly capable of seeing for yourself
- Dinner in a flash Italian restaurant with a view of St Paul's can actually be a very cheap meal
- Going to the loo costs $$$$. Liz is making us broke.

As this was only a short visit we didn't want to do all the touristy things - we need to save something for when we're unemployed and bored! However we did manage a stroll down Oxford Street, where Liz got very excited about all the shops. We also went for wander along the Thames, to St Paul's, and down Fleet Street to Trafalgar Square. Liz got a real buzz walking along Fleet Street, which was where the UK newspapers were based last century. We also went to the Portobello Market in Notting Hill, hoping to catch a glimpse of `the house with the blue door'. Needless to say, we didn't find it, but we have got the tube-riding thing down.

Overall London seemed alright, but it could have just been quiet due to the long weekend. Living in the city as a working resident may be very different to spending 2 days there as a tourist though, but only time will tell. Guess we'll find out what it's really like when we get back in about a month!

P.S. We now have a UK cell phone. The number is: +447939397730. We'd love to get texts from you all, but if you want to actually speak to us, please wait till we get back to the UK, coz it costs us money to receive calls in Europe. (Or you could get broadband, and sign up to Skype, like civilised people!)
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Comments

martinwhite
martinwhite on

Some tips...
1) Generally only Londoners and maybe people in some other big cities are unfriendly. They're actually not that unfriendly, they're just surprised that you aren't either!
2) McDonalds and cinemas are good for a free pee :-)

London city centre tends to be quieter at weekends as it really is a working place and no tourists drive. Also there is now the congestion charge keeping people out of the very centre. Different story on Monday morning!

Have fun!

jonnyandliz
jonnyandliz on

Re: Some tips...
Thanks mate. I think we are starting to master the art of not paying for the loo. Our bank account will be flush with the savings.
We hire a car in a couple of days so managing the scottish traffic will be the next hurdle to overcome.

Liz says to tell Vicky that she tried minstrels yesterday and she thought they were yummy...

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