I’m writing this on the train back from 3 days in London, after 52 minutes of trying to get the bloody wifi to work. If you book direct with Virgin trains you get free wifi.
It’s free because it’s shit is what I have discovered. Anyway, I’ve had a great time at World Travel Market, even though I feel like I’ve spent two and a half days sat in pitch black theatres listening to talk after talk from some of the travel social media experts. (Jeremy Jauncey the founder of Beautiful Destinations Instagram account for one! Major fan girl moment). Not only that but my feet are KILLING, I need a long shower and a good nights sleep in my own bed.
Hats off to everyone who lives in London by the way, I just could not do it. I felt like I’d done a days work before I even got off the tube for the first of about 4 changes and countless stairs. It’s intense, and exhausting, but I can see the attraction there is such a ‘city buzz’ about the place. And despite the greyness, and rainyness and generally miserable faces on a lot of people, it’s really pretty…see my early morning stroll through Notting Hill for example.
I know all the typical things Northerners say about London, and for the most part they actually are true. Nobody helps you struggling with your case, nobody gives their seat up for old/pregnant/disabled people and god forbid you stop someone for directions and become a MASSIVE inconvenience to their life for all of ten seconds…
It can be a really daunting place if you don’t go often, and while I’m no expert I can manage my way around, navigate the tube system and generally not stick out like a sore thumb THAT much. That is until I’m sat with some friends and they all whip out their phones to Snapchat me as soon as I start talking (and I’m not that Geordie).
Here’s my take on what I learned about in London from this visit:
1. You cant get a bog standard can of coke anywhere outside of train stations. You can however get organic botanical lemonade with rose extract. Whatever the fuck that is. Save yourself the extra walking that your feet wont thank you for, and don’t even try to find a newsagent or somewhere you might get one. All you’ll find is yet another organic store, with no idea where you are and trying to remember how to get back where you started. Cut your losses and go for the simplest looking organic overpriced drink you can find even if its just plain water.
2. Speaking of water, in restaurants if they ask if you want water for the table and you say yes, they’re going to bring you a lovely posh glass bottle of it for about £7. I just assumed I’d be getting a jug of tap. Course I wasn’t, and I think if I had remembered to specify they’d have looked at me like I’d ordered a jug of piss.
3. If you have the misfortune of that horrifyingly awful moment when you touch someone else’s hand when trying to hold on for dear life on the tube, whatever you do don’t say sorry. They look at you like you’re mad for engaging in any form of conversation, and this is worse than the hideous hand touching incident in the first place.
4. Tube staff hate life. Or that’s how it appears. I probably would as well if I was stuck underground in that rat run all day too. I read a statistic somewhere today that Londoners spend three whole weeks of their life underground. Bah, not for me.
5. They still love beards. And if not beards then floppy hair curtains. And they will be perfectly preened, shaped and sleeked. More so than any girl I saw. Again, not for me. As Kieran says ‘you cant go wrong with a short back and daft ****’.
6. And lastly, I went to McDonalds for coffee, because I actually really like McDonalds coffee. It tastes proper. And it turns out that’s where you will find every other Northerner in London. All equally put off by the choice of taking on the massive queues for Starbucks, or the organic mocha-choca-latte-espresso-martini coffee on offer at the cool looking café two doors down. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cool looking café, but in London you really do need coffee, you need it quickly and it needs to be good.
Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a negative I hate London post, it’s quite the opposite and I find all of the above part of the fun. I love visiting and everyone I did speak to was lovely (aside from the snotty bitch I asked for directions). But I cant wait for a ten minute drive to work, the Geordie accent and a can of full fat coke.
See you next week London!
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