While I’ve written quite a few posts about London, my love for this city is more potent than ever as I sit here in Berlin, MA after a day of working at a local restaurant. I am perfectly content living at home and waitressing for a few months, as a way to relax and save money in between traveling, but the monotony of everyday life in a small town has me missing the excitement and energy of my favorite city in the world.
For the first few months of 2017, London was my home base. In between trips to Romania and Portugal, I always stopped in London to breathe in that familiar, rainy winter air and visit with my wonderful, hospitable friends.
I was thrilled to make numerous trips to my favorite Moroccan restaurant on Hoxton Street, to visit museums near the West End, to play with dogs in public parks in Chelsea, and to tour thrift shops and farmer’s markets in Stoke Newington. Two of my favorite people from home came to visit and I got to take on the role of unofficial London tour guide. From napping with fuzzy blankets on the floor of the Tate Modern, to feasting at Brick Lane’s Sunday food extravaganza, to exploring famous graveyards in North London, to escaping the rain in Gordon’s Wine and Cheese Bar, there was truly never a dull moment in this amazing city.
Even spending time alone in London is enjoyable. Just walking around aimlessly, with no purpose at all, inevitably brings you a sense of purpose. Embarking on a walk in London, I get swept up in the motion of the city, and find myself entertained for hours. With so much to see and do, with endless attractions scattered throughout the busy streets, every walk becomes a voyage into a sea of culture, cuisine, and enjoyable chaos. The current of the city carries me through the enticing aromas of street markets, through towering conglomerations of modern architecture, and through tangible expressions of history. Walking along the Thames, I almost feel one with the river as I glide past theaters, museums, and massive government buildings.
London’s never ending excitement and constant display of lights and sounds makes walking a meditative act for me. The buzz of tourists and the constant presence of commercialism falls silent in comparison to the hum of my own thoughts. When I’m walking without purpose, and not participating in any events of the city, I become an observer, a moving life force that absorbs my surroundings while maintaining objectivity. As I study London with an open mind, while existing in silence, I feel closer to the city. Then to other observers, I am just another strand in the messy fabric of the metropolis, and my moving energy contributes to the chaos that stands outside the shielded, serene mind of the observer.