IN my experience, you can’t fully appreciate travel unless you take part in the entire process – from wringing out your dirty socks and undies in the hotel shower to finding an incredible patisserie in Paris for a quick afternoon tea, and some people watching.
I feel the same way about living in a new city. The excitement I have when exploring London is the same that I would have as a traveller in any other city or country. Even though we moved to London six months ago, I feel like we are still tourists, albeit without the need to wash clothes in the shower.
I have decided to make the most of our next 66 weekends here (yes, I counted) and be a live-in tourist rather than just another ex-pat that simply lives in London.
Each week I try to do something new or discover a place I have never been. To share the views of Napoleon Bonaparte “Impossible is a word found only in the dictionary of fools”. So I am not going to say it is an impossible task… I am simply going to say that I have set myself a task.
So, in the effort to achieve my task, this past weekend we learned all about the body snatchers of the early 1800s, the 1666 Great Fire of London and horrendous effects of the Black Death at the Museum of London. Then, on Sunday, I enjoyed the most delicious afternoon tea on the 8th floor of the Oxo Tower with some lovely ladies. We watched the sun disappear behind the London Eye at sunset.
Other weekends I have found myself on a scavenger hunt through Southbank, rummaging through the various markets scattered across the city and testing my fear of heights on the London Eye and the newly opened Shard (a Valentine’s Day surprise for our first V Day as “honeymooners”). With so much happening in London every month, it is no wonder tens of thousands of people flock here every year, despite the dreary weather reports and tales of pompous English.
I am determined to experience as much of London as I possibly can in the limited time we have. It will take something extraordinary for us to experience all that London has to offer before our time is up. My trick is to accept the challenges in front of me and say ‘yes’ to as many things as possible (within reason).
I have a feeling that this theory will be both good and bad — by saying ‘yes’ I have been able to experience so much of London already. It also means that I have somehow committed myself to a to a dip in the Serpentine.
In the words of my favourite sitcom character, “challenge accepted”.