‘I went to London at the weekend’. That’s not an unusual thing for me to say as since my first visit nearly a decade ago I have now lost count of the number of times I have revisited you, the Capital of my awesome country either for work or pleasure. But it has now dawned on me that I no longer feel like a tourist in a city that I actually haven’t even explored to its fullest. I used to get so excited as my train pulled into Kings Cross Station and by just walking out onto the street to be greeted by the sights, smells, hustle and bustle that central London offers. Now, instead I simply walk out setting up Google maps to find my hotel, conference etc, head down, eyes fixed on the screen missing out on what is going on around me.
I’ll admit it I also used to commit the ultimate Tube sin; I actually used to smile at people if they caught my eye. ‘Crazy woman’ I hear you cry. But I did, just a ‘hi’ sort of smile. I usually received a ‘what are you looking at?’ look back but I still carried on doing it. I’m northern and we’re friendly. That’s not to say that southerners aren’t, it’s just people on the underground are always in a rush to get somewhere – maybe they haven’t got time to smile back at me? And so now I don’t, instead I sit/stand in my own words intentionally trying NOT to look at anyone let alone smile at them. This is not me, I must not do this anymore, I must let the smile return.
Also, nowadays my visits are always either for the day, an early train in and a late one home or one night at the most which means I simply do what I’m there to do i.e. conference, gig, sporting event and nothing else. Therefore, I do not have time to deviate from the ‘plan’ and visit/explore other things whilst visiting, although that’s probably because I am so anal and ensure I have everything planned to the finest detail so don’t allow any spare time to visit anywhere other than where I am supposed to be. This is something I need to rectify as there are so many awesome things to do that I’m potentially missing out on.
I always stay in the same parts, either Old Street/Hoxton or Covent Garden, so I know what underground line I need to take and I’ve thrown the map away for these areas as I know them like the back of my hand. I drink in the same bars and usually eat in the same restaurants. It appears I no longer get butterflies about researching for my visits. I need to shake this up tout suite as I still LOVE you and the spark is definitely still there. I just need to fall back IN LOVE with you and I plan to do this as soon as possible.
So with all this being said Mr ESLT and I plan to visit in December for two nights and we will be the ultimate tourists. We are staying in a hotel we have never stayed at before, in a part of the city we have never visited before. We are taking afternoon tea (venue to be confirmed) we are seeing a musical – Elf to be precise, which I am super excited to see as it is my favourite Christmas film, we are going to take a trip up The Shard followed by a Jack The Ripper tour around the East End. Plus you are always magical in December with all the Christmas lights up and twinkling. I also hope we have time to visit Somerset House for a spot of ice skating if time permits.
So apologies London I feel that I have been taking you for granted for far too long and have been looking at you without really seeing you, not anymore my dear friend. From here on in we will rekindle what we once had and make up for lost time.