Monday, July 28, 2008

Ye Old English

I’m still not sure how I ended up here. My travels are taking me to so many incredible places I often wonder where I am when I wake up from a deep sleep. London is one of the worlds greats. I’ve been here for a week and am still finding that each day the city has something new and exciting to offer.

I’m staying with my friend Richard whom I met traveling in Costa Rica a few years back. He visited a few times in Washington and when I made the trek to Italy, I thought I should pop in and say hello. He has a place close to central London which has given me an awesome opportunity to spend some time exploring this magnificent city while saving a bit of money.

Italy was my previous experience for a few weeks and the different between the two countries are quite striking. My first impressions of London were that it seemed to be the closest place resembling America as I’d been to in a while. Organized, structure, business and face-paced were among the few words that instantly came to mind. The more I walked through the city I was quite shocked to see how big it was. It just kept going. Another amazing thing that I found about London was how many parks this city has. Not only is the city huge but it has a ton of huge parks. Most of them are all part of the Royal Park systems and are impressively well maintained giving the city a charm that makes you feel elegant and refined.

Everyone has been telling me that I came at the best possible time. The weather has been incredible. Sunny and in the 80’s almost everyday. Every park is filled with people taking long lunch breaks, skipping work, or jobless travelers aimlessly wondering the city with no reason or rhyme. Not sure where I exactly fit into that picture.

One day last week Richard invited me to play softball with his coworkers after work. I found it interesting for two reasons. One, the British know nothing about softball as they have been raised playing Cricket and other proper English sports. And two, I was impressed with how much malted beverages they were able to consume during the course of the game and still function.

The city has an energy right now that is very much familiar to me. It’s an excitement that I think only places that spend most their time under cold, cloudy skies can understand. People are staying up late, socializing, laughing, and just trying to absorb every ounce of the freedom brought by the long, warm days of summer.

Last weekend Richard took me out of the city for some fresh air and to see the english countryside. We went and met his family who live just outside London about an hour. Sunday, Richard and I went to Brighton, a summer Beach retreat for London day-trippers and weekenders. It was my first swim in the Atlantic, but people say it was the English Channel and not the Atlantic. I say whats the difference? Here is a few pictures from the weekend.

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