Thoughts on visiting London

Dr Zaius

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I'm in London at the moment and will be here for another week or so. Some initial thoughts and ramblings.

Interesting place, and quite different from the cities in Europe. So far I've been to a couple good restaurants and spent the day at the National Gallery. I'll post some pics of that on my Facebook page later.

Also saw the changing of the guard at the palace earlier today. That was neat, but I was actually a little surprised at how lackadaisical (for lack of a better word) the marching and overall discipline seemed to be compared to, say, our changing of the guard in Washington. Also, way too damn many people there. I'm glad I saw it, but to be honest the soldiers looked kind of bored.

Have had several beers here. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know I travel a lot and when I visit a place, I want to eat what the locals eat. To my mind, if you're not going to do that, what the hell is the point of traveling? It never ceases to amaze me when I see tourists looking for their own food, and I see people of all nationalities doing that. Very strange.

The beer here is interesting. But while I don't dislike it, I would say I prefer Germany for beer. Other foods are mostly things familiar to Americans. However, the way they pair them together is different.

It is one of the most expensive places I've been to. So if you visit London, be sure to bring some money.

Accents range from just a little different than what's common in the US to unintelligible. That's fascinating since we both speak the same language, at least in theory. I thought Americans were bad about making up euphemisms and urban slang, but Brits take this to a whole new level. They rarely seem to call anything by its proper name. A telephone is a blow, a bathroom is a loo, etc. It's also interesting that Americans appear to have different uses for the same word. For instance, a scone is really a biscuit, a biscuit is a cookie, and a porky pie is a lie. In some ways it's easier to understand Germans or Italians who speak English...

Not sure about driving here. It's crazy in London, just like it is in Rome. But the cars are really tiny and they'll squeeze through a keyhole if you give them half an opening. Not to mention the wrong side of the road thing. Which brings up another interesting observation. Whether it's a conscious thing or not, Brits walk on the street the same way they drive (i.e. On the wrong side compared to Europe and the US).

It's extremely touristy in London. But there's lots of nice stuff around if you have the patience and time to look for it.

More thoughts to follow.
 
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Dr Zaius

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Been here abou five days. London is sort of like one gigantic, multicultural bazaar where one can find just about anything imaginable.

It's definitely touristy here as there seem to be hordes of tourists pretty much everywhere (much worse than Rome). Which tends to wear on you after a while for a variety of reasons. If you're not careful, you can easily get bad food or get sold some cheap crap.

That said, the good outweighs the bad. There's tons of interesting museums and little shops all over the place. The people can be a little odd at times, but overall they're friendly and helpful.
 

Mister T

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Generally agree with your remarks, however i would not qualify driving as 'crazy' unless you mean 'congested'. Due to the intensity of the traffic, drivers are keen on exploiting every possible opportunity to move forward. That makes them good drivers, not bad ones in my opinion.
In addition, most regular guys take public transportation so what you see on the streets of LDN is a subset of pretty experienced drivers: taxis, delivery men, other professionals and, last but not least, the rich in their fancy German cars.
 

Dr Zaius

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Generally agree with your remarks, however i would not qualify driving as 'crazy' unless you mean 'congested'. Due to the intensity of the traffic, drivers are keen on exploiting every possible opportunity to move forward. That makes them good drivers, not bad ones in my opinion.
Taken in local context, you're probably quite right.

Mister T said:
In addition, most regular guys take public transportation so what you see on the streets of LDN is a subset of pretty experienced drivers: taxis, delivery men, other professionals and, last but not least, the rich in their fancy German cars.
Lots of cool motorcycles on the streets here, too. Bikes are are very rarely seen in America unless they're part of some rich guy's collection.

Overall, I like this city. It's one of only a few places I've visited where I can see myself coming back and enjoying it.

Despite the tourism, I like the restaurants and many sights to see. In short, this place has character. Some of it good character and some of it isn't, but there's nothing worse than a big city with no character.
 

Dr Zaius

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Possibly the imperial war museum tomorrow. Saw a bunch of stuff today and I just came from a lovely little Italian place where I had way too much to drink. No idea how I managed to make it back to the hotel.

Time to sleep... o_O:thumbsup::fingerwag::highfive:
 

trailrunner

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Been here abou five days. London is sort of like one gigantic, multicultural bazaar where one can find just about anything imaginable.
On one of my trips to London, I wound up at a flea market or outdoor bazaar. I don't remember where it was, or how I wound up there. A guy was selling pages from books with illustrations. I bought one with a nice illustration and a nice quote. I probably paid 1 pound for it, maybe 2 pounds. I brought it home and framed it, and it's one of the few things I have hanging in my cube at work. It was inexpensive, but it's different, and every time I look at it I have a happy memory.
 

RRschultze

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Always nice to hear 'johhny foreigners' thoughts on our country/cities. What's good/bad/indifferent. I remember when I visited New York in 2000 and the first thing that struck me was the noise and the incredible height of the sky scrapers compared to our British buildings. The NYC accent was hard to follow/understand considering we all spoke English. A lot of Americans I met didn't really know Britain especially places, most assumed I was from London, although I'm from Liverpool. Food and drink was good, lots of variety as you would expect. Greenwich Village was really nice and lots of places to visit. I was lucky enough to go to the top of the WTC onto the roof. Fantastic views. Got to say American beer i.e. Miller/bud is no match for our real ale. Also I found Most Americans to be friendly and intrigued with my English accent.
 

Dr Zaius

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Saw some shows in the theater (theatre) district. Fabulous.

Had English tea twice. Had no idea what to expect with that, but it was kind of cool. i couldn't eat like that every day, though.

Toured Churchill's underground war rooms and the Churchill museum. Lots to see there and a good reminder that Churchill was an important and accomplished man long before WWII came along. It also drives home the point that Churchill was one of the few people who spoke out early on regarding the threat which Hitler posed, and he forcefully argued for action when others argued caution.

Saw an opera at the Royal Albert Hall last night. Stellar performance and a very nice venue.

Met more than a few "proper cockneys" at various pubs and places, and it's true, we're two people's separated by a common language. Many different accents here and some are really hard to follow, but others sound almost like Americans from the northeast. Most seem very curious about the US in general and Texas in particular. Lovely people, but quite different than the Germans and Italians I've come to know in my travels there.

Tons of great food here. However, I really prefer the all the great European and Middle Eastern restaurants to the traditional English fare. I hate eating like a tourist and always try to eat what the locals eat. That said, the traditional English food is pretty hit or miss for me. Breakfast is similar to what's common in the US, but there are some important differences.
 
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bendizoid

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Are you developing a accent? Lol. Whenever I go to Canada I come back talking like a hoser.
 

Dr Zaius

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Are you developing a accent? Lol. Whenever I go to Canada I come back talking like a hoser.
I don't know. Ten days probably isn't enough.

But the bartender at the pub down the street taught me some new words, like bloody tosser. Some I'm working on it.
 
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