I have never been a London type: one of those people who wanted to go find myself in London after finishing school or university.
The rumours of rainy weather and unfriendly people put me off years prior. As I grew older, the pompous media, whose articles I had stumbled upon online didn’t do much to help either. Friends had gone and come back – none with splendid reviews.
A chance trip to the city did make me understand, however, why at any given point there are 3 million tourists enjoying it. The bustling metropolis runs like a well-oiled ship and it’s easy to fall in love with a city that never sleeps... literally.
From the old-world architecture, mixed with the unexpected parks that pop up out of nowhere to the red buses and black taxis that polka dot the city as people emerge from the underground maize that is the tube is simply captivating.
The people are by nature not unfriendly... there were a few that helped me differentiate my pounds from my pennys but should rather be described as in a rush.
There is a sense of urgency about the people in the rainy city, which probably explains the buzz that encompasses you as you walk for hours without realising. Yes walk.
The ability to walk from one place to another was fantastic, the ability to feel safe and the freedom to not feel like I had to walk with my handbag clenched does for me, anyway, epitomise freedom in the true sense of the word.
Dozens of cafes scatter the city, as people often stop for coffee, and a smoke (on the pavement) to take it in for a few seconds.
No doubt South Africa is the place to be, the warmth that overcame me as the plane touched down at OR Tambo can not be described in words. But there are a few pleasures in London that we could do with in SA.
London is definitely a one-stop destination hot spot, and I finally get why all those people go there.