West End Girls, East End Boys

If only I could spend as many days in London as I have pictures in my phone after the trip…:)

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It was my third time in London. The previous two happened over 6 years ago, when I was living in a small (relatively small) Finnish town – before I ever visited Paris or New York or San Francisco or Honolulu  – so you can imagine how much I had my mind blown after seeing what London had to offer.  I’m even embarrassed now to remember how excited I was to see  Victoria’s Secret shops or how I was making my friend who I was visiting go to every single Starbucks we saw or how confused I was in the tube looking for the correct line.

Weather was  great. London rain is overrated, if you ask me. We were there for  5 days in November and didn’t see a drop of it. However, I completely forgot what it felt to be outside for longer than 15 minutes when the temperatures are in the high 40’s/8-9 C. You need layers and layers of clothes. You also need a big scarf, a hat and gloves. Unless you are local. In this case you can go just wearing ballerinas, ripped jeans and short leather jacket. At least, this is what the majority of the women I saw looked like. I was freezing just looking at them and wrapped in the scarf tighter.

Food is good in England.  Don’t argue with me on that one, I am a foodie and I am peculiar when it comes to that part of the deal.  The only place where I didn’t like the food was the place I used to love during my previous visits. Yes, Patisserie Valerie, I am looking at you. Those Eggs Benedict were a disgrace. Warm apple tart was ok though. The rest of the food experience was very good. Duck Shepard’s Pie and steak tartare at Balthazar. Coffee and pastries at Arro Coffee. Steaks and grilled porcini mushrooms at Zelman Meats. Fish and chips – yes, fish and chips – at some no name place on our way to the tube.

Service, on the other hand… well, let’s just say there is a lot to catch up. Not everywhere, but again, Patisserie Valerie… I guess it’s official, we are through now.

Christmas mood is everywhere. Love Actually, my favorite Christmas movie of all times could not be filmed anywhere else. Looking at how tastefully and elegantly the streets, the shops, the restaurants were decorated I was thinking that Santa should move to London from Rovaniemi, it would be more appropriate.

London is the biggest melting pot. Bigger than New York. We were greeted by British porter in the hotel, were served coffee by Italian waitress, had French-speaking couple next to us on the bus, overheard Finns looking for the tube stop and had a nice chat with an Uber driver from Kosovo. My type of city:)

English language is truly different from American language. And I’m not talking labour vs labor, or theatre vs theater. English street signs talk to you as if they are your grandmother’s cousin with the very noble upbringing, the one that uses different forks for meat, fish and poultry. “Please give way”. “Act like an educated human, take your rubbish to the bin”. “Buggy users, please make room for wheelchair users”. American street signs talk to you as if they are your middle school principal and you are a notorious class troublemaker. “Radar detectors illegal”. “$500 for highway littering”. “illegal gun? 5 years prison and exile”.  Oh well…

Go to Abbey Road Crossing, if you want to crack up watching people reenacting the famous Beatles’ album cover. We spent about 20 minutes there and laughed non-stop. Yes, we also crossed the road and had someone take a picture.

Two things you absolutely cannot miss when in London: Musicals in any of the West End theaters and Food Halls in Harrods. One will nourish your soul and the latter will nourish your eyes and your stomach.

After all, what else does a girl need?:)

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