The other day I had a friend from Chicago visit and we had a lovely champagne afternoon tea. Can you believe I’ve been in London almost a year and this was my first one? The fact that I don’t really like tea could have something to do with it, but I am all about tea sandwiches and pastries.
Isn’t it beautiful? It was delicious too.
We were surprised how empty the restaurant was, and then we realized we were having afternoon tea for lunch, which I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to do if you’re really British. But there’s no way I could have had a full lunch and then all those pastries and sandwiches a few hours later, even if I did walk the entire city of Westminster.
It was a lovely day so we walked around London all afternoon. I mean we walked — I walked at least six miles (and surprisingly only ended up with one blister) that day. (I also discovered it is possible to walk from my apartment to Big Ben. You just have to stop for tea halfway, and wear six bandaids per foot …or comfortable shoes.) It’s a different experience seeing London with someone who really loves London. I walk around London all the time, but I rarely “see” it. We were standing at an intersection on Oxford Street waiting for the light to change, and my friend kept looking up. “Look at those rooftops! They’re beautiful!” I had stood at that intersection dozens of times on my many shopping excursions, but I never looked up. The whole afternoon she pointed out little London curiosities that I never noticed over a year. Her love for London was contagious. It’s not that I don’t like London, but I see it more through the eyes of a pseudo-resident than a tourist. I still believe it’s a city better to visit than live in, but sometimes you can be a tourist in your own town. Like when I took this lovely photo:
My friend also pointed out the gold detail on Big Ben, which I had never noticed. But that’s because I literally couldn’t see it before — the only times I’ve been near Parliament it’s been cloudy or rainy.
Overall it was a nice visit, and it reminded me that I need to get out and appreciate this city/be a tourist a little more. I need to start checking off those things we said we’d do once we live here, like see a show at the Globe.