Things I Learned on the Way to London

London, Buckingham Palace

I just finished reading Anna Quindlen's Imagined London. It's a great book for voracious readers who originally learned to love the city through novels. Like Ms. Quindlen, my first introduction to London was through the written word. Like her, my reading left me with a few impressions a trip to London would quickly clear up. Knights and ladies, Regency pinks and carriages no longer roam the streets, but you can still feel their echo in Westminster Abby, Hyde Park and many other great places you've read about.

Some of the things I discovered on my first visit to London in 1997 were:

Tower of London, execution, church, london, england
1) That Tower Green is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, and the grassy areas behind the Tower where non-royals were executed is gone.

keep calm2) What a queue is. I had not come across this word before. Then, I was standing in line to buy tickets for Buckingham Palace and reading a sign that said "The queue forms near the gates." I stood there wondering what a "kway" (my mangled pronunciation) was. It wasn't until I heard it used in a sentence a few days later that I realized what the word was and how to use it properly.

3) Coke and Sprite taste different in England. So does a Twix bar.

4) I love the white chocolate Magnum ice cream bar, and at the time they didn't sell them in America.

Things I learned on my 2007 trip.

1) At the time, the newspaper is alive and well in London and an essential part of any tube ride.

London, union jack umbrella,
2) A California umbrella, i.e. one that folds up tiny and fits in your purse, is useless in London. Luckily, the Evening Standard was giving away real umbrellas if you purchased one of their papers. I bought one and picked up an umbrella that actually kept me dry.

3) I still love the Magnum ice cream bar but it wouldn't be until 2012 that I could buy them in America.

4) Having tea at the Pump Room in Bath is an excellent way to celebrate Thanksgiving when you are in another country during the holiday.

What I've learned about London since 2007.

1) I want to go back.

2) I want to go back.

3) I want to go back.

For those of you who share my passion for London, please check out my books because most of them are set in London.

For more posts on England click here and here.

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