London in November
Most of my trips to London are for business rather than pleasure. I organise my visits around conferences and trade fairs, then tacking on an extra couple of days to hang out with friends and go shopping. It’s never enough time. I’m always rushed and I almost always visit London in November.
This time I booked a whole two weeks. I was so excited about a longer stay. I planned sightseeing, meet-ups with friends, shopping and eating. Then I got sick. Because of course. I spent two weeks in bed, visiting doctors instead of my friends and struggling to attend any planned events.
But I still loved being in London and got out a few times for short walks in various neighbourhoods. For the most part, I got lucky with the weather and enjoy the cool air.
Every moment I questioned why I moved to sleepy Budapest and not London, a city that never stops. Until I had to open my wallet when I was rudely reminded with an intense case of sticker shock. Sometimes I (only briefly) forget just how expensive London is and most of Western Europe.
I pushed myself to get out as much as possible, to at least get a few photos. One week in East London saw me return to my favourite food tour spots and a week near the Borough Market introduced me to some new ones.
Wandering through Archbishop’s Park at Lambeth Palace was a new experience as was being in travel book heaven at Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street. What an incredible bookstore.
I resisted splurging on a £1,000 camera lens on Tottenham Court Road only to succumb to a military-style winter jacket from Soho. I justified it by noting I rarely visit London and needed something to keep warm. It wasn’t anywhere near £1,000 of course.
After two weeks of noisy London, the constant drilling and hammering of construction, traffic congestion, and trains barreling by as I tried to sleep, it’s almost unsettling being back home in Budapest where all I can hear is the sound of my own breath.