Across The Pond

London is a fantastic city. It is incredibly rich in history, architecture, and—well—people. This is my first time “over the pond,” as the locals say, and I am quite impressed. My only impressions of London come from the American media and British TV shows such as Dr. Who and Downton Abbey. The media get it right about half the time.  For example, the British do speak in strange accents to our American ears, and sometimes I wonder if we truly are speaking the same language. There have been many occasions on my short trip here where I wasn’t exactly too sure what was being said to me. Even when I did understand what was being said little idiosyncrasies are readily apparent. However, what surprised me the most was how many French speakers I came across as I strolled through London; people from all parts of the globe find their way to London. It truly is an international city.

London is also a very clean city.  Even the subway areas were very clean. There is definitely a different way of doing things here, but it is hard to put your finger on exactly how to describe it. Restaurants often close between lunch and dinner. Many establishments close by 11 at night, but London doesn’t ever seem to sleep. Tourists and Londoners can be found packing in the local McDonald and Burger King after a night of theater in the West End or a evening out a the pub. No doubt, being confined to the more touristy areas of London has clouded my opinion.

The famous landmarks such as Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Tower Bridge are even more magnificent in person than they are in pictures and TV. What surprised me the most is the history that lurks around every corner. Monuments and statues seem to grow out of the city for every significant event of the British Empire. Newer buildings tower over the old, but not so much in a way that detracts the eye from the greater beauty of the city. I imagine, or perhaps I just hope, this might be a similar experience to one a tourist would have 1000 years from now in New York or Washington, D.C.

Perhaps, its the common history shared between our two nations, but I can’t help but shake the feeling, as foreign as London is, that it feels a bit like coming home.

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