15 March 2014

5 things I love about London

London is a gorgeous, cantankerous, sprawling behemoth of a city, and as if you couldn't tell already, it's stolen my heart (though I will always be a Kiwi all the way down to my wide feet and toes). A little balance is in order with last week's 5 things I miss about New Zealand; the name of the blog is Adventures of a London Kiwi afterall...

1. The Architecture:
When I first came to England, I didn't quite realise what spell it would cast on me, but the ability to explore the nooks and crannies, and never running out of them keeps me fascinated. Initially the plan was to be here only for a couple of years and was a springboard to travel around Europe. What I didn't count on was how tightly London would snare me in it's grip - in more than 7 years I've not tired of discovering new quirks, new history and new corners all with their own unique identities.
Some places are pretty grim I can't sugarcoat it - sadly it's inevitable that there are good alongside the bad, but you learn where they are (and which ones have tiny restaurants with the best underground food). There is simply everything here, from 7th-century Saxon arches (All Hallows Church), to 20th Century cheesegraters. In addition to this the very fabric of London is steeped in age-old traditions. From the c.3,000 year old marker of central London, to Hot Cross Buns and International Pillow Fight days.

2. Ease of public travel
I'm not talking here about commuting, that's a whole different kettle of fish. But, you can move thousands of people across the whole city in less than an hour. That's something special. (Also read 10 signs you're becoming a Londoner & let me know how you scored!) This isn't even mentioning the Channel Tunnel and access to Paris and Brussels within 2 hours. We are simply just spoilt for choice.

3. Friends
You can be whoever you want to be, there will be a group of friends somewhere. I've just discovered something - typing 'friends' into my blog search bar brings up 8 pages of results. I'm very blessed with people who put up with me.
I love New Zealand, but I think in my heart of hearts I was a wanderer looking for a place to settle. It's taken me a long time to find a community that fits me in, because it never actually existed. I've ended up with several communities who I fit in various ways which is so much the better.

4. Food, glorious food:
Thai, Russian, Croatian, American, Kiwi, Brazilian, Czech, Lebanese, Indian (well, Anglo-Indian), Sri Lankan, Japanese, you name it (and funnily enough if it has a football team) there is bound to be a restaurant hiding somewhere offering delectable home cooking of their mother country. Sadly, I have it on good authority that really authentic Mexican can be little hard to find though - I wonder if it's the lack of sunshine?

You can brunch, afternoon tea, sup(per), breakfast, dine, or even grab a packet of crisps in your local pub. Be aware of the unwritten crisp rules though - buy enough for the table to nibble and open the packet up. "This is a complex operation. Open the bag of crisps at the top fully, and then tear down the side seam and allow the tear to continue across the front of the bag to the opposite corner. This opens out the bag, which can then be placed on the table, for communal sampling." Perennial favourites are Salt and Vinegar or Prawn Cocktail, but Cheese and Onion may also be appropriate (Ready Salted seems to be seen as boring). If you feel adventurous, try Beef or Worcester Sauce flavour.
And then Curry. Ohemgee. You aren't a proper expat until you have fallen in love with an anglo-indian curry. My absolute favourite? Lamb Saag (spinach) Gosht with Mushroom rice and a Peshwari (nutty) Naan. So naughty, but oh so good. I do have one question though: what is up with 50 varieties of Baked Bean in supermarket aisles and the misnomered London Cheesecake?

5. The right to drive sheep across London Bridge:
Needless to say I'm just waiting for my turn.

So, Londoners/ex-Londoners. What do you love about this crazy city, and what have I missed off my list?

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  1. I love this post. Yep, all of that and more. I miss a good curry. We have quite a good indian/mauritian restaurant here but it's no brick lane or tooting treat. Also the fact that you can eat any of those things at any time of the day is something I miss too!!

    1. I've really found curry to be rather addictive! There isn't anything quite like it.

  2. The baked bean aisle always cracks me up, too! It truly does have it's own complete section inside Sainsbury's!

    Sometimes I feel like crying when I realize how long it's been since I've had real Mexican food. We ate it 3+ times a week back home.

  3. London is special but after living there for some time we had to move outside, life is hectic and house prices are ridiculous ;) but it's always nice to go down there and visit family!

  4. wonderful photos! I do love london, best city in the world

  5. I would agree with ALL of that Emma and more too......such as London's wonderful green parks and urban nature! A lovely post with super images! Karen

  6. I definitely love the food in London. You can literally eat anything you want and it is always easy to find.

  7. As cities go, London is one of the best. Fabulous architecture, things to do, parks and canals and of course food. Glad you love it so much :)

  8. I've never lived in London and am a real country girl at heart, but really many of the things you love are part of the whole country, not just London. You haven't lived until you have spent time in Glasgow!

  9. I'm really looking forward to coming down in June. It's an exciting city.

  10. Never lived in the city, but the best thing for me coming from the sticks is being able to quash whichever foodie craving I happen to have at that moment in time.
    Janie x

  11. I agree with you. Especially about the food.

  12. I want to know more about the sheep :)

  13. I love this post and all the fabulous pictures. My flock of sheep are just behind yours. GG

  14. Ok totally random but if you have lived in small Swedish towns where public toilets are hard to find it makes sense! I loved when I lived in London if I was out and about there was always a museum with free entry near by with a decent bathroom to use!

  15. I love the hustle and bustle of London.

  16. Your shared information is quiet helpful for the readers. London is the best to visit because it offers numerous things to do, lakes gardens,parks,cuisine etc... It is the capital city of England and United Kingdom. I have been visited there in summer vacations before my bus philadelphia nyc. Tower of London is a historic castle located on the bank of the river Thames in central London. It one of the most iconic landmark in London the visitors from all over the world visit there to see this castle.

  17. For me food was always one of the main reasons not only why I loved this city but as well why I lived there :)


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