You know what I love about London? It’s old. And I don’t mean old and decrepit. It’s old and beautiful. Everywhere you look, there are well preserved brick buildings, stone towers, fantastic old architecture. This is old world old. And this is the kind of old that is hard to find in Asia. China of course has old relics, but generally everything old has been demolished to make way for 100-storey highrises. In Hong Kong, bits and pieces of the colonial history remain, but again, everything has been knocked down and rebuilt. Tokyo barely survived the fire bombing of World War II, so although it is an ancient culture, little of its old architecture remains.
But London… every street, every corner, every block still retains its glorious history. The buildings have been not only preserved, but well maintained and cherished. I imagine this is what I will find in other parts of Europe, when I eventually go there — cities that reflect their history and grandeur through their architecture. This is the kind of history that lacks in Asia, where the trend is to be out with the old, and in with the new. And coming from Trinidad, where probably the oldest buildings are a tiny strip called The Magnificent Seven around the Savannah, this kind of history really turns me on.
So like a good tourist, I’ve been to see most of the top sights. Here are some of the highlights:
But, once you’ve seen the main attractions, what else is there to do? Luckily, London is a city of action. Almost all the museums and galleries are free entry, and there is always a market going on somewhere with amazing food and live music and arts and crafts and all kinds of action. Just marvelous.
Here are some of the more unusual things I’ve done in the last few days, off the beaten tourist track:
Tomorrow I head out of London to a smaller town, to the south, to visit another Trini friend who lives here and is married to a Brit. Will definitely be good to catch up with people who have settled here and see what they are up to, and see other parts of England.
Next blog post — notes from a small town!