I went to London recently for another interview (it went okay). The place was either a half an hour walk or a couple of tubes away from Waterloo station, where my train got in.
If you asked me how to get to the Natural History Museum from Waterloo I could not even tell you the general direction. I could tell you that its closest tube stop is South Kensington, which is on the Circle and District lines, maybe get the Jubilee line to Westminster and change there?
It has also made me fairly unimpressed with London, because I rarely see it properly. I always think of it as too busy, too expensive and too dirty. I very rarely take in the cool buildings or wander around the parks.
I think the best way to see what a city is really like is to walk around it. When I went to Paris we walked everywhere and it was a great way to take it all in.
So off I went, with the help of Google Maps I wandered around the city pre- and post-interview and shamelessly got my tourist on taking pictures. Then when I got back to Waterloo I missed my train by about a second and rued my photo taking, but then Lipton were giving out free Ice Tea. It worked out.
Then I over-edited my photos on the train, because, as usual, the British weather forgot that it is meant to be July, not October and it all looked a bit grey and miserable.
London is a bit of a strange city to look at because it is not like Paris where there’s lots of old buildings and they’ve made an effort to keep everything looking beautiful and old. In London they do not seem concerned about things like that. Yep, Big Ben was built in 1859, let’s build a GIANT, underwhelming (yeah I said it) Ferris Wheel on the other side of the river.
I am glad I made myself walk rather than hide away in the tube because my opinion of London has definitely changed, it was actually quite nice to walk around. It may not have the beauty of Paris, but it does have a certain charm that remembers its past as well as looks to its future.