The fact that I have been in London for three weeks now is mind-boggling. London truly feels like home, almost like I have lived here for years. One of the best accomplishments that I have had this far is that fact that I can now wean myself off of “City-Mapper” and actually take the bus and tubes to wherever I need to go without having my face glued to my screen so I know what tube or bus to take and which direction to walk.
Today I chose to walk to my favorite coffee shop that is located on Duke St. off of the infamous Oxford St. My flat is located in a pretty small like section of the City of London, the more financial section of town, and is surrounded by really cool like restaurants and pubs that are constantly over flowing with business men at the end of a long day at work. From my front door I took a right and walked down the small one-way streets of my little area making sure to look at all the amazing architecture of the townhomes lining the streets next to so many old pubs. London has a sort of hustle to it and just by walking down the street you get the sense and rush overcome you because of the insane amount of things going on all around you. I usually try to keep up with the pace of crowds and try to assimilate as an Londoner but on this walk I forced myself to slow down and let all of my sense feel London. Its amazing how just walking slowly down the street you can hear so many different tongues and smell all of the wonderful aromas that rush out of restaurants, coffee shops and pubs.
At this time happy hour was just starting so all the pubs were starting to form a crowd and all you could smell was beer and cider. Walking down the street I heard a mix of so many different languages and accents that came from such a variety of different people. As I got closer to the more touristy spot of Oxford St. everything began to get so much more crowded and congested that what it is like on my side of town. Once I got to my favorite coffee shop, which is on a side street in-between houses and little boutiques, I pulled out my laptop, ordered a latte and sat outside. I took this time to just relax and write this blog post while also watching London pass by me.
By taking this walk I realized so much about the London that I hadn’t realized before. This walk kind of taught me to slow down sometimes and take a second to truly immerse yourself into the city, almost like being a wallflower. Observing is such an amazing thing to do because you wind up learning so many little aspects of a city that the normal person wouldn’t pick up on. The main thing I got out of this experience is that if you are able to relax you can actually feel a city and become immersed in it.
As I started to read the Travelogue that I chose to bring abroad with me I slowly started to realize that it really wasn’t something that I wanted to read and wasn’t exactly a travelogue. So instead of reading that book I decided that I would read a blog that I found online about a girl who had studied abroad in London as well! Ii thought that this would be the best way to really relate with someone while I am here because we were in the same situations, just at different times. Her blog was basically a collection of posts about where she traveled and all of the wonderful things she did in London. It was actually really interesting because there were a few times that I read her blog and was like ‘wow I did the same exact thing.’
This picture is of my favorite coffee shop that I ended up at after my walk to across London. This place is a place that I truly feel like I am in London and surrounded by the British culture and not amongst all of the tourism.