I have never been to London, but all stereotypes about it somehow made me feel otherwise. You know how you almost always hear bunch of stories about something that turn out to be rather exaggerated? Well, this story is from the other bunch.
#1 Red buses
The first and main stereotype has been confirmed right from the start – the iconic red double-deck bus. It does exist and exists in a notable abundance. I mean, if you’re in the center and you look in any direction you will see at least 3 to 5 of them. They are literally everywhere. If you’re taking a photo and you want to have a London touch to it – you usually need to wait just several seconds for the bus to pass and pose for you. The cherry on top for me was riding the authentic bus – the very first model that is occasionally launched into traffic for nostalgic purposes. For this ride the standard ticket is valid, but since there are not many of them it’s a lottery to catch one.
Well, there is nothing surprising about the cloudy and a bit rainy weather if you’re visiting London in December. I guess I was lucky that it was not pouring rain, but in any case the stereotype stays valid (at least until next time)
This was literally the most polite country I’ve ever been to. Nowhere in the world I seen the word please added to the word “push” on the entry/exit door. The politeness here is on a whole new level, just as I heard before about Brits.
#4 Pub crawl
It appears like people in London do take the pub experience seriously, as all pubs appeared full with people who were even standing outside when it was only around +5. That was on Saturday, but my host noted that it’s not much different during weekdays, as many catch up with each other after work and, apparently, pub is the most relevant place to do so. In the one I’ve been to there was even something like a family reunion ongoing.
#5 Shopping and dining
Did both of these as well – the amount of shops in London and the variety of the supply is quite amazing and I had hard time not to buy too much. I imagine on an average day the amount of people in shops is somewhat high in London, but with such proximity to Christmas it was too much… I’ll just say I’m glad I don’t work there and can imagine how tough it is for those who do.
What’s more amazing is the way how many streets are decorated. Of course a big share of people don’t really go shopping but rather walk around creating an even bigger crowd. But Christmas rush is well worth it – in the end it happens only once a year.
#6 Small British icons
London somehow managed to leave all those small iconic items untouched despite growing into a large multinational city. Eventually, they add up to the whole experience and make your stay appear traditional and, in a way, organized. As a result, most of the pictures I brought from London are full of red buses, red telephone booths, cabs and post boxes. Even the cloudy sky made the experience more British.
I can imagine that you are never going to run out of things to do, or go to, or at least buy in London.