There she goes! Arriving in London was a much smoother transition than I expected. After overcoming my jet lag in Dublin I was ready to take London. I had limited knowledge of the city before hand and expected it to be similar to New York. On the first day we had to take the underground to our destination, and I was amazed at the extent of the underground system. Everyone knew where they were going and what they were doing even though there are more than 100 stops and routes. People also wore business casual attire and pants the entire time. Not that we don’t wear pants, but shorts were extremely uncommon which was surprising because the weather was warm. I was genuinely surprised by how assimilated I became to city life by the end of five days. I loved the big city life. I have never been in such a fast-paced environment, and I felt as though everywhere I went I had a distinct purpose. The street food was also amazing. I’ve never had such delicious caramel and sugar covered almonds.
I have never been in a city with buildings that were originally built before my country was even formed. The architecture and preservation were amazing. I would say my favorite part of London was the mix of such rich history and the modern world. The mindfulness of the citizens in the previous centuries impressed me significantly. They realized the importance of the monuments and buildings in their city and worked to protect them. I’ve seen and heard about so many castles but did not expect to find them in the middle of the city. The tourism economy is huge. The Londoners seemed to be accustomed to tourists. Even when we accidentally missed our tube stop a local boy just laughed and gave us proper directions.
I’m thankful my first European experience began with an English speaking country. Just the culture change was enough to throw me the first couple of days. It’s almost more difficult to adjust to London only because the language tricks you into believing the culture is just as similar. The lifestyle in London however, is only similar to Columbus by the language. Even the things you would think to be the same were not. I walked into a McDonalds and expected to see the same foods but I did not. The London menu consisted of the “Tastes of America Collection.” The sandwiches on the menu looked much healthier than options offered in the US. I was expecting to find similar or the same menu as I can find in Columbus and was pleasantly surprised at the difference. Watching others eat I also realized what a social event eating is. People would sit around for hours just chatting with their meals lasting almost as long. And although the street food was delicious it seemed to be only tourists eating or buying it. Overall, I loved the city and although France is exciting, leaving London behind was tougher than I expected.