“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” So wrote the 18th century essayist and poet Samuel Johnson. He could easily have said “woman” instead of man. I know I will never tire of London, no matter how many times I visit.
Going back this year was like visiting an old friend. I spent several years living there on my first big travelling adventure as a 20-something, and this wonderful pulsing city holds a special place in my heart. My links with London are tenuous now, all the friends I knew in those long-ago days have either moved on – to less hectic lives in other parts of the UK – or moved home to Australia and New Zealand. And it has been a decade since my last visit to England. But the old mansion flats where I lived, the pubs where I would meet my friends, and the church where I got married are all still there, providing lasting links that bind me to London.
But at the same time as I trip down memory lane, I’m aware that London has also changed a lot in recent years – and for the better, I think! It’s got a buzz about it, there are lots of new things to see – as well as the traditional attractions – and a modern vibe that I love.
I only had a couple of days to spend there, but I revelled in today’s London. I walked along the Thames embankment, rode the Tube to get around, and ate alone in friendly pubs. I saw a few sights, but mostly I just enjoyed soaking up the little bits of London that I found myself in.
I had “High Tea” at the ever-so-swish new Sanderson Hotel in Fitzrovia, gazed in antique shops in Chelsea, soaked up an English country garden, and I remembered how wonderful this city is. The sun shone too, which added to my joy in being back.
So while I was a tourist – and felt like it at times – there is always a sense of homecoming when I get to London, rare though those occasions are. It fits like a comfortable shoe.
So this is not a travelogue, just a little wander through some random streets of London. Here are a few more images. Go there sometime – you will love it!