Thursday, June 30, 2011

Londres

I'm approaching the two month mark as a resident of London, also the halfway mark.  Although I'm still trying to wring the most out of my four months in London, my endurance is beginning to wane.  Rather than doing something every day I'm down to maybe one week night and the weekend.  I suspect I'll get a second wind in August but, until then, I'm enjoying the groove of being a Londoner and not just a tourist.

I've been a bit more observant of my surroundings this week, perhaps due to the importance of this being the last week of the first half of my London summer.  I've noticed, for instance, that the Londoner's blank stare is a grimace.  Additionally, Londoners will pay to sit in a lawn chair at a public park rather than for free on the grass or park bench.

London is not a bicycle-friendly city.  Although there are bike lanes and 'sharrows' and designated areas for bikes at the front of some intersections and a bike rental program in place throughout the city ('Boris bikes'), there are also 'no cycling' signs everywhere and bikes aren't allowed on the tube or buses.  Perhaps bicycles are considered full-fledged vehicles here (cars aren't allowed on the pavement so why should bikes be?), which might be a good thing as far as safety on the road.  But, not all bike riders are equipped for road travel.  Sometimes you just want to take a leisurely ride through the park but in London that doesn't appear to be allowed.

I enjoy my morning commute.  I love catching the bus every morning to my tube station and riding 30 minutes underground, sometimes standing the whole time, to pop out in the middle of The City.  Taking my time to get to work each morning, I get off a few tube stations earlier than necessary so I can walk along the Thames and past St. Paul's Cathedral.  My morning commute takes about an hour and each morning I find myself stopping to take another picture along the route.  London can be very picturesque, especially when the sun is shining.

I enjoy riding front row upper-deck on the double-decker buses and I prefer riding a bus to the tube, especially on lovely days.  Unfortunately, the bus isn't a practical option for my morning commute but on weekends it's my preference and on late nights it's the only option.

I'll probably have a different perspective, along with different observations, towards the end of the next two months, which I'll enjoy sharing at that time.  Until then, I'm going to continue to relish being a Londoner before midnight hits and I revert into a tourist again.

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