Mar 16, 2011

the number one spot...

i'm over the 6-month hump and falling in love with london a little more each day.  don't get my wrong, i still love ny, but london is quickly taking the no. 1 spot.

here's why:

1. the pace of life.
once you realize that fast food, just won't be and queues were meant to wait in (patiently), the speed - or lack thereof- in london really starts to grow on you. i'm never in a hurry. i don't sprint down the street. people don't work insane hours. (well, most people) and this gingerly stroll through life has done wonderful things for my stress levels.

2. the urban-suburbia. 
jay-z might love a concrete jungle, but the charming streets of suburbanesque neighborhoods with random plots of grass are ideal. it's a win-win: minutes from the city center, theater and sites with lots of trees and grass, birds chirping, and children playing - it just has an air of relaxation. as i type i'm listening to turtle doves outside my window and church bells ringing - seriously? do i need to tell you what i heard out my window in harlem?

3. the food. 
people are right ... it's not that good. which makes eating out SO MUCH EASIER. there isn't pressure to try a different restaurant that just received rave reviews. or go somewhere that everyone is talking about.  once you find a few you like, you stick to 'em cause chances are there won't be many others. matt and i have an old reliable list and we're never let down (and when we do try something new, we usually are.) people say variety is the spice of life, but when it comes to eating in london, reliability is the spice of life: if you find a restaurant you love, stick with it.  and if you're looking for something fast, fresh and cheap the falafel at portobello or the chorizo at borough market are five-star street fare.

4. walking. 
this city facilitates a pedestrian lifestyle - and i can't figure out just what it is...  the other night we had to run to a friends house. they're 2 miles away and guess what, WE WALKED. how many new yorkers will hoof it 40 blocks to pick something up? i walk a mile to the grocery store and carry them home and enjoy the exercise.  i walk 10 minutes to the gym just to run. we've walked to church. we walk to dinner. we walk and walk and walk.  just today i walked 5 miles of errands.

6. the tube.
for those times you don't feel like walking - the tube is practically a delight. well lit. clean. safe. convenient. it's everywhere you want to be.

7. the markets.
granted i'm missing some U.S. pantry staples like oatmeal and bisquick, but i'm loving the fresh food markets. the ease and affordability of produce is wonderful. in 2 minutes i'm on portobello road picking fresh veggies for the day for pennies.

8. proper - eity. 
you can order "proper olives" (whatever that means), keep a "proper home," behave in a "proper manner." whatever this proper - eity is, the brits hold to it fastidiously. it translates to a respectful, helpful and courteous citizenry. old people get the bus seats. every mother has help getting up and down a staircase with her stroller. if you drop something, someone is there to pick it up. not to say there aren't exceptions, but i've found these brits to be positively charming.

9. internationality.
when i wear my Hard Rock Rome sweatshirt on a jog, i barely make it 5 minutes without some italian asking me directions or where i'm from. speak french - you'll get plenty of practice in south ken. and when you eat tapas at a spanish restaurant, everyone from the chef to the bus boy is a legitimate spaniard. if you could hear a scotsman speak, you'd never want to leave. (and people tell me they love my accent)

10. the travel.
with affordable airlines like ryanair and easyjet servicing 3 airports in London, we can get almost anywhere for almost nothing. what if i told you i could fly to germany right now for $12.00 (one way).

i don't think matt and i will ever have a chance to see the world again this way, and we are taking advantage of it.

and though visa complications might have us stateside sooner than we planned, i'm loving every day i have left in london.


kate gunning said...

i love you in london.
with ME.

Jylare Smith said...

You make me miss London so much. I literally hurts to read all of that because I know what you mean! I love, love it there. Wish I could move back there and walk the streets of Portobello with you!

laura said...

Are you trying to make me cry? London is still my #1, and I would move there in a second if it wasn't so far away from my family (NYC is already far enough!). I yearn for the Tube, Kensington Gardens, Borough Market... *sob*

Now I'm off to buy some overpriced imported chocolate digestives from the British shop near my office in an effort to drown my sorrows.

Whitney said...

This is a proper post :) I <3 London and the Lybberts!

mandy said...

i can't even begin to tell you how jealous i am! wish i was there!

Tom Earl said...

Well put. I couldn't agree with you more.

Vivian said...

I found your blog through your post about "smoking" as someone forwarded it to me a while back. LOVE your blog! You make me want to leave for London right now! Enjoy it for me and for many others who also wish they could see the world!

nerak said...

i liked this post a lot until the end of it.

You, Me and Little Mr. B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
You, Me and Little Mr. B. said...

London fits you so well! I am so envious of your adventures and every post makes me more anxious to visit London one day. What an excellent opportunity for the two of you. I can't believe it-a $12 flight? I would be traveling every day. Glad you are enjoying London more each day. Happy St. Patty's Day!

Tesera said...

Hi Noelle!! Jen Macfarlane told me to check out your adorable blog- and so glad I did, I will have to try out your restaurant suggestions!! =) And I agree, London is the greatest city there is!! <3