A Short Visit to London – by Rob Shackleford
Other of our Travelling with Traveller Inceptio Blogs
|India by Royal Enfields 1||Britain by House Sits||Scottish Food||Scottish Culture||Southern Scotland||Northern Wales|
|Faces of Scotland||House Sit Bath||Faces of England||House Sitting UK||Faces of Wales||Visit to London|
We are travelling with my novel, Traveller Inceptio and London is undeniably one of the great cities of the world. It is a definite must-see.
Perhaps one of our biggest thrills, with the countless landmarks such as St Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and the heavily scaffolded Houses of Parliament with unrecognisable Big Ben, are the names of landmarks commonly associated with Monopoly. Yes, we are that boring.
London is varied – for there is the actual City of London, referred to in reference to the original Roman fort Square Mile, though it is 2 square miles. Then there is the Greater City of London, the entity most refer to when London is mentioned. What’s the difference?
The London we experienced is actually a delightful place, with huge green spaces with the many parks and gardens that thread through the centres, roads that are surprising not packed with traffic compared to other cities we have experienced, and lots of the trendiest shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants imaginable. Londoners are a polyglot mass, where it was rare that a conversation overheard on the street was even in English, where centres of Arabic, African and European populations enrich the nation with their own version of food, music and dress in a way that is far removed from what some would call traditionally English.
We can only describe our experiences of London as positive and exciting.
Given only a few days, we tried to hit the highlights. We took a London Tube to Westminster Abby which was, thank goodness, not crowded. Sure, it costs a lot by Australian standards, but to visit an icon in England generally does. Next was to walk through the gardens, check out Buckingham Palace, view the bird life in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, and then buy the most excellent falafals on Oxford Street.
Our choice of activities might not be for all, for we spent some time at the British Museum, arguably one of the best I have ever seen. As one who studies history for my books, the museum was filled with artifacts plundered when Britain was the centre of a world empire. Despite criticism of colonial looting, the artifacts are in pristine condition and beautifully intact. Incredible!
After very good and overpriced coffees in Knightsbridge, we took a London Cab to the office of my publisher, Austin Macauley, at Canary Wharf. Alas, they have no interest in chatting with me or any of their authors, despite that we had travelled from Australia. It was disappointing but maybe that is the attitude for all publishers. Not sure but it seems an strange strategy by which they hope to gain author loyalty, but for now it’s one I must live with.
My greatest regret is that we were in London for only a few days. There is so much we wanted to see, but could not. It is considered one of the world’s major cities for good reason. There are sights of history and wonder at every turn.
Yes, we will be back
Rob and Deb live at Burleigh Heads, on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Deb is a yoga teacher and administrator par excellence.
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