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My time in London has been very hectic. I’m staying out of the central London area because everything near the attractions is really expensive. I’m out near Greenwich and the O2/Millenium Dome which really isn’t so bad. I have to spend about £6/day on the train, not including the underground fees. It still is cheaper than staying in the city center.
Since I’ve been here I’ve visited Maritime Greenwich and the Observatory museum (where the Prime Meridian is located and John Harrison’s clocks), the Tower of London, Westminster Abby, the Kew Gardens, the British Museum, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert museum, and I’ve seen four movies in Leicester Square, catching up on everything I’ve missed in the last several months. There are still a bunch of places I haven’t visited including the Imperial War Museum. I visited St. Paul’s and Parliament on previous visits so I’m not too in a rush to see those.
I’ve found myself having to get used to having conversations in English again. I had gotten very used to only speaking in brief phrases when going to stores or ordering food in a restaurant. Now I can use full sentences like “I’ll have the fish and chips with extra tartar sauce, no vinegar on the chips but please put on some salt”, but I still find myself using fragments like “one fish and chips”. Its bizarre, but true.
London is by far the most diverse city outside of the US I’ve seen on my trip. In fact it probably beats most US cities other than Los Angles or New York. It is an expensive city even with the recent changes in the Pound relative to the Dollar. (that just means it used to be really, really expensive). Entrance to the Tower of London and Westminster Abby was expensive at £17 and £15 respectively. This is more than offset by the fact that entrance to all the museums in London is free. Also if you purchase an Oyster card (which you should do if you will be spending any time in the city) makes taking the Underground more affordable.
The weather here has been cold and rainy. Before I arrived they had a brief heat wave with temperatures getting up to the 90’sF (35ish C). Since then the temperature has been in the 12-20C (60’s F) range.
I enjoy London. It has made the short list of places I’ve visited that I’d consider living. The biggest downside is the cost. I saw the prices on some flats at real estate office and they were expensive to say the least.
I’ll be here a few more days before heading to New York and then to Chicago. If you are in either one of those cities and would like to meet up for drinks send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.