We’re back from London! It was a fabulous trip, though we completely exhausted ourselves and all I want to do is sit in a bubble bath for 3 days. But London–of course I was smitten. Didn’t you expect that? All the wonderful things I’ve heard were true, and then some. It wasn’t even that expensive, which was a worry. We highlighted the free museums, and managed to find great deals on food. Then we spent everything we saved on pints of frothy beer. Because hey, we were in London.

We were blessed with amazing sunny fall weather the first few days, and then traditional fog the last two, which was exactly how I would have chosen it. By the end all we did was sit in pubs anyway. I have scads of pictures and thoughts, so I’m going to break it up in to a few posts over the next few days. So stick with me!

A walk along the South Bank

For today’s posts, some general pictures and thoughts on London. It was a weird feeling to be there, to be honest. I’m used to traveling to foreign countries and seeing totally new things and cultures, but London felt…familiar.  I didn’t realize how much of British culture I had soaked up, but everything felt like I’d seen shadows of it before, and it was all recognizable. It was crazy to be in a place where Charles Dickens wrote his stories and Queen Victoria lived, and every street we walked down had a plaque with another famous name on it. This is where things happen. To a point, the English-speaking world centers on this city.

Because I’m a child of English heritage and culture, I felt like everything was somehow mine. All the famous characters of Ebeneezer Scrooge, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, James Bond, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter lived in London, and you would be hard pressed to find a native English speaker who hadn’t heard of any of these characters (ok, maybe besides Doctor Who). I guess I’ve just never thought about how much London has seeped into my consciousness. I imagine that anyone from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand could relate to me, but I wonder if a child from France, Germany, China or Indonesia would feel quite the same way? Is it special to us English speakers because it influences our culture so much, even in the United States? Or are those stories so popular that even non-native English speakers would feel a sense of familiarity in London? Anyone with any insight, feel free to share your opinion!

A lampost straight from Narnia, and Peter Pan's statue

No matter where it came from, I enjoyed that feeling of being in a place that was home to so much of my culture, because even in Paris I felt like I missed out on a lot of things by not speaking the language. British English may be different from American English, but at least I can read every single plaque and sign!

Now that I’ve been, I’m sure that I’ll notice London even more in movies, TV, and books, and every time it comes up I can say, “I’ve been there!”

Coming up: some of my favorite museums, a trip to Liberty of London, and the delicious places we found to eat and drink!