I came to London with a negative attitude for some reason. Maybe coloured by an infatuation with a France I felt was respectful and proud. Maybe also a previous experience of being sent to Heathrow after our plane had a problem, sort of set the tone.

Picture two plane loads ‘queued’ at customs control manned by only two officers on duty and one supervisor, hands behind his back, smugly rocking on his toes and heels. When one officer leaves for a break, you are left with one officer and his smug supervisor for 800 tired passengers.

Picture one plane load (ours) of these tired passengers then roped off sheep-pen style in the middle of Heathrow terminal hall, standing, with our luggage, no information as to our fate, for three hours.

Welcome to United Kingdom indeed.

There are things I wasn’t used to especially coming from France:

– Getting jostled and garbage bags everywhere in the street.

– I was being told what to do a lot (see this story ).

– Over the top graffitiing

– Being nearly thrown out of our seats on the Gatwick Express. Didn’t know trains could hit turbulence at 80kph.

– The Underground, while its map looks like a fishing line tangle from hell …

… is London’s gift to the world. For commuters and tourists alike, you are logistically never more than two trains and a few minutes walk from anywhere. Intra-city – all the top tourist stops and out-of-town destinations. Fast and regular as oatmeal. You only have to linger at a map or a ticket machine and an orange dayglo-ed rail staff member will approach for assistance.

– While Le Louvre holds 380,000 objects and requires several days of visits, the Victoria and Albert Museum holds 2.8 million and the British Museum, a staggering 8 million objects.

Yes, they plundered a lot of them from all over the face of the earth, but who better to catalogue and curate them into an astonishing array of intriguing artefacts for the enlightenment of all.

They hold 759 objects from Captain Cook’s expeditions and his accompanying chronicles.

– The staggering food choices.

Overall, an unruly and diverse bunch of people. A Nutri-bullet full of cultures blended to a pungent mix of humanity. Can make France seem almost monochromatic.

1 thought on “London – this and that

  1. I’m still not sure how you feel about it!! Torn I think… what an unpleasant welcome. I remember the border control being very rude!

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