Saturday, November 28, 2009

To The Faraway Towns

I spent two days this week in London.

In my late teens, when it became apparent that I was going to be studying journalism at university, I always assumed that I'd end up working in London.

Life didn't play out that way, and I've been to London less than a dozen times since my first visit in 1999.

I always look forward to heading down to the big smoke - especially when my employer is paying, as was the case this week.

But it's a place that delights and infuriates in equal measure.

The sheer size of the city is something that a life spent mostly in Scotland can't prepare you for. London isn't a single entity, it's a whole series of towns linked by what, in my experience, is the world's greatest underground network.

But the tube, while generally working like clockwork, can be a source of great frustration. It seems that Londoners are adept at avoiding eye contact, instead stampeding impatiently from platform to platform, barrier to exit. One second's hesitance and you're immediately in someone's way, and they're not slow in telling you.

The sheer volume of people takes some getting used to as well, especially for those of us who split their time between Montrose and Aberdeen. But London seems overcrowded even when compared to New York and Shanghai, although perhaps memory serves me incorrectly.

Even with the overcrowding and the sullen faces surrounding me on every side, London is incredible. There are amazing buildings on almost every street. Huge ornate buildings that would be royal residences in any other country are train stations or offices in London.

But it's a tiring place, especially when you're at a conference for the entire time you're there, and even more so when your flight is delayed. I did at least get a meal at Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food restaurant, and it was one of the best meals I've ever had.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

... I walked by his restaurant last spring..... what'd you order?....