I can still remember when and where I first felt an undenial passion for London. It was November 2010 & I was on the Piccadilly Line heading to Green Park Station after having arrived at Heathrow Airport for the first time. I hadn’t even seen any of the city at that point.
Why did a city that I had never been to have such a hold on me so quickly?
I was nine years old when London first hit my radar.
All because of a wedding.
As I watched the glass coach carry this young woman towards her prince, I think I was more entranced by the buildings & streets the coach was going down. And when Diana pulled up to St Paul’s Cathedral, all bets were off.
I became a Royalist and a Londonist that day.
Nearly 30 years later I finally got to live my dream and go to London myself. I got to walk the streets of the city that I had only seen in pictures and movies for so long. I got to go to St Paul’s Cathedral and relive the moment that Diana walked up the aisle as an ordinary girl & back as a Princess (only difference being, I wasn’t on some Prince’s arm and there weren’t hundreds of thousands of people awaiting for me to walk down those steps).
My love affair with London has been intense. It’s been six years since my first visit; I have been back twice, and have another trip planned for February 2017.
Some people might say that isn’t much, but when you consider that it takes at least 24 hours for me to get there (and a couple thousand dollars), then 3 times in 6 years is actually a lot.
“Why don’t you move there if you love it so much?” is a question I get asked a lot. The simple answer is I would if I could but I can’t. Now at 43 years old, I am too old for the OE a lot of Kiwis & Aussies head to London for. Plus I think, more importantly, if I lived in the city I might feel differently about it.
Sometimes it’s good to keep the rose coloured glasses on.
I’ve studied the map of central London so much that I know most of the areas or the vicinity they’re in. I could probably tell you what colour each tube line is and I have over 6000 photos of just that city.
London is the pinnacle of travel for me.
Some people want to go to Machu Picchu; some want to climb Mount Everest; others dream of a safari in Africa (ok to be fair, that one is on my list too).
But for me, I am happy to go back to London again and again.
Over the next few months, I am going to try (probably very poorly) to explain why I love London.
With ‘The London Series’ (yes I thought long and hard about that title), I hope to share my photos and thoughts about the city that gripped my imagination for so long and lived up to every part of it when I finally got there.
“London is like a dream come true. As I ramble through it I am haunted by the curious feeling of something half-forgotten, but still dimly remembered, like a reminiscence of some previous state of existence. It is at once familiar and strange.”
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, Preaching in London: A Diary of Anglo-American Friendship