Postcard from London

Saturday, September 25, 2010

























My excursion to London this summer came as a pleasant surprise. Amidst traveling through the UAE, the opportunity arose to visit London with a friend for a couple of days. I hadn't been to London in 8 very long years. When I was 16, I studied abroad there for a western civilization history course with Experience England. In a way I feel a real closeness to London. I experienced a lot of firsts while being there at such an impressionable age. That was probably where my real love for traveling alone developed. There was nothing more exhilarating than eating lunch at a cafe near Oxford Circus with me as my only companion. I think the only way to really ever know yourself is to be your own best friend. I've made a real commitment to being that ever since.

When I arrived in London this past June, my survival instincts were really put to the test. Having only packed for 40 C weather in Dubai, I became a layering master in London pretty quickly. My travel partner wouldn't be arriving until later that day so I was left to my own devices. After taking the tube into the heart of the city, I got off at Oxford Circus only to feel completely disoriented and overwhelmed. Thank goodness for the kindhearted security man at Mango who helped point me towards my hotel. Once I checked in and dropped my luggage off, I immediately grabbed the courtesy umbrella and hit the streets. I think what surprised me most was how unsurprised I felt, as if I had never left. But most great friendships work that way don't they.

In the span of three days I managed Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, British Museum, Covent Gardens, St James's Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, River Thames Cruise, Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern, Rippley's Believe it or Not (yes I did it!!), Portobello Market, and Kensington Gardens. Needless to say, by the end of the trip I had nothing left to give. The highlights definitely had to be running into a high school friend on Oxford Street, the National Portrait Gallery (I heart Alex Katz), and Portobello Market. But above all, there is nothing like the feeling of rekindling a lost love with something or someone who shaped a great part of who you are.

6 comments:

  1. London, too, was my first for many things and a year and half later, this place seems to remain in my heart and thoughts on a daily basis. True, it's because of the wonderful people I met. But when I look beyond that and see past them, I see a place where I felt so incredibly fresh...and so happy. All the time. Wherever I went, I took the time to explore new sites and learn (in detail) about so many things I became interested in...I too remember sitting in cafes alone, and going to the art galleries and shopping in all the beautiful markets. London, to me, is home away from home. When I went back a few months ago, it felt as if I hadn't left...

    I miss its business and all the entertainment and knowledge it offered. I 'grew up' in London, and it has forever changed me.

    Sanaa

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  2. love love love the second picture with the secret viewing of you in the mirror...so cool!!!

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  3. I loved this post! London is one of my favorite cities as I have friends there and visited it so many times! I like experiencing something new every time I visit, but there are some "classic" places I visit all the time (like Covent Garden and Oxford street)

    Anna
    http://travelledbyann.wordpress.com

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  4. London is one of my very most favorite cities in the World! I was blessed enough to live there (can't believe it has been 5 years since then! )

    Great photos! Trip looks amazing! Luck girl xo

    xx.M

    www.bellesandrebelles.blogspot.com

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  5. Wonderful pictures! Love the red buses, they look very romantic (unlike buses in Germany or the US-aka yellow school bus anyone?). I really really want to visit London some day...gosh there are so many places to go and see.

    PS: Love the fact that you have a kimono ;)

    Aldina
    Circle of Design Fashion Illustration

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