London: The multifaceted city.
January 1, 1970
I think about London and it makes me feel emotional. I´ve been living there for about a year and I feel that it´s a magical city. Maybe it just because it was the first city I put a foot on after I left my own country, Argentina.
Now, I had to leave that wonderful city and I can´t wait to go back to stay for more time. But, what has London that makes me feel so in love?
London has it all. It´s that simple, that music festival you dream to go, the premiere of that movie you want to watch, that degree you want to study, the food of any country of the world, everything you could imagine is in London. Everything happens in this city, it is the capital of the world, in the economical sense but in the cultural, as well. Exhibitions that change every month, a lot of the most interesting museums are there. And thousands of free events, that only can have place in London.
Everything is clean and organized in London (and in all England, as well), you walk on the street and you know exactly where you are all the time. That´s the way the city makes you feel comfortable and welcome, it´s like London saying “Glad you are here, you are very welcome”.
I won´t talk about a specific hostel because I think that´s mostly a personal taste (and budget). But if you are a quiet person just like me and you enjoy spending some time in a green place I highly recommend you Notting Hill. That neighbourhood is one of the quietest places in London and is near to the most tourist attractions in the city.
If you are more into parties and bar, Camden Town has a very nightlife. The rates per night in those areas are around £25 or £30, in a share room.
In London (and I believe in all city) is easier to use the tube than the bus, and also you have more connections with the underground. But, and there is always a but, the bus is cheaper: the tube is around £4,50 and the bus is around £1,50, way too much difference. There are a lot of different options, you can buy the Oyster card and pay as you go or you can buy a Travelcard which is very useful if you want to make a “homemade” tour around the city. I bought this one when I got London and that was what I did. I bought the Bus Travelcard for one week which it was £22 and I travelled as much as I could. I think that is one of the best ways to travel around London on your own and not having to spend a lot of money in those expensive city tours.
What to do in London for free (o really cheap)
I personally don´t like to do very touristic things: I haven´t gone to the London Eye, or the Shard or anywhere you have to pay. Yeah, I am that kind of traveller, a poor one.
- Portobello Road: This road is in Notting Hill, among antique shops and million dollar homes; it provides an accurate portrayal of the typical London atmosphere. This area is very famous because of the market on the street where you can buy food, clothes, or whatever you are looking for a really good price.Hyde Park: This park is one of the biggest in the city and it´s right in the centre of it so there a lot of thing happening all the time. Throughout the year many events take place here, such Winter Wonderland, Royal Gun Salutes and different festivals. There are also, memorials, statues and a museum that always has great exposition (and it´s for free too! Yeah!)
- Primrose Hill: This park is near the Zoo, in the north of Regent Park. From here you can take the best skyline pictures of London or have a picnic with a great view of these iconic buildings.It´s always full of young people, it´s really near to Camden Town so it makes it a “neighbourhood park”.
- British Museum, Science Museum: I love museums but I rather love free ones. The British Museum is one of the most important museums of the worlds and you can´t miss it. You could spend a whole day seeing everything there; from the Rosetta Stone to the Parthenon Marbles everything is fascinating.
- Natural History Museum: I want to talk especially about this museum because it’s my favourite in the whole world. That is because is very interactive and entertaining. I went there fourth times and I still feel like I have so many things to see.Here you can see a Tyrannosaurus Rex of 6 metres, which it´s a robot so it´s moves and roar; it is very amazing to see. Also, there is a small room in the earthquake area which is a simulator of the earthquake that came after the tsunami in Japan in 2011.
- Piccadilly Circus: Here is where everything happens. You can walk, buy whatever you want in the shops, listen some free bands, watch some artist performance, eat something. This is the London heart. Here is where the most of the walking tour has the meet point.
- Soho: It´s really near Piccadilly Circus and it´s where you can find all the traditional pubs in London, in general all people meet here after the office to grab a beer. If you go to one of this pub make sure you don’t ask for a cosmopolitan drink! Just beer and shots!
One of the most fantastic things about this city is that it´s not too big and you can walk around almost everywhere, so you can explore the city and discover things on your own. Not just that, if you want to visit other cities, like Oxford or Cambridge you can do it by bus and it´s 2 hours away, and the ticket cost just £1 if you buy it in advance. Everything is near in London and from London.