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London through the eyes of a Dutch girl, this could get interesting. I decided to write an op, because I fell in love with London, and I have only been there once.
Please note that I descibed our first day in London, the way I experienced it. You won't read any facts about London, just my view. I warned you..
HOW IT STARTED --------
I wanted to go on a vacation for the summer, but my boyfriend wasn't quite interested, because it would costs a lot of money, and he didn't want to go 'too far away'. In the meantime I was already doing research on London, the accomodations, the shops, well everything. I nagged and nagged for months, and we finally decided to go. We booked our trip on Wednesday July 30th and our flight was scheduled on Thursday July 31st. We would stay for 3 days, so we would fly back on Saturday August 2nd. We paid about €500 for two persons, including hotel and breakfast.
Because we booked last minute, we had to buy our own tube tickets in London. We were a bit frightned by this, because we are used to the crappy, always late system in the Netherlands. We flew with KLM, and we arrived in London Heathrow in less then 45 minutes.
ON OUR WAY --------
We bought a London Travelcard for 6 zones, and got on the tube. We were really surprised that all the tubes actually got there on time, and we laughed a little about the driver saying 'please mind the gap between the train and the platform' at each station. When we stopped at this station (I can't remember the name) we saw this London Underground sign, and there was this little sticker saying; 'no begging, penalty fee £200'. Haaa, that is soo funny, how could a begger come up with 200 quid. I still wonder if that was serious, or just a prank sticker.
After 60 minutes we arrived at 'Russel Square', we walked about 10 minutes to our hotel 'Ambassadors in Bloomsbury on Upper Woburn Place. We noticed this little 'supermarket', which would be open 'till 1 am in the middle of the night. Bare in mind that we are the kind of people who buy the cheap drinks, crisps and more in those supermarkets, and sneak them into our hotelroom. Come on, give us a little credit, we are Dutch!
OUR HOTEL --------
The hotel lobby looked really fancy, with marble floors and mirrors. We expected quite a lot after seeing this (although we didn't actually pay the £190 they charged for a room). The rather unfriendly lady behind the desk gave us 2 magnetic cards for our room, which was located on the fifth floor. We took the lift, which also looked really fancy, with blue mirrors. We walked through the corridors, the floor cracked under our feet, and we got to our room.
We opened the door and it wasn't quite what we expected. The room didn't have a minibar (there went our plan of buying cheap drinks), it did have a waterboiler, so we could make our own tea (how English), the room had twin beds, and the first thing I did, was push them together, I mean, come on. The bathroom was clean, but the shower was so small, I could barely move myself, and I'm not that big, believe me.
TO THE BIG CITY ---------
We decided to go explore London, we took the tube and got off at Leicester Square. The first thing we noticed was how friendly the people were, compared to the cranky people in Amsterdam. We laughed a couple of times at the cars 'hahaa, look, they drive on the left side!', and we looked to the wrong side when crossing a street, thank god for the hints painted on the street (look left, look right), we really needed to get used to that. I loved the typical London cabs, so cute!
I dragged my boyfriend to Regent Street, and went on a shopping spree in Lush. We also had our first Starbucks coffee; I had a raspberry frappucino, and he had a strawberry cream thingie. We decided we wanted to go and watch a film, so we walked to Westend..oooh my god, how do you people afford those tickets? Way to expensive if you ask me, so we decided to go to a theatre. We went to 'Hitchcock's The Blonde' with Rosamund Pike. I loved it, and we had Ben&Jerry's, yum yum.
This was our first day out of three, but I won't describe the rest of them, I'm going to write what I thought about London in general.
LONDON IN MY OPINION ---------
Like I said, I fell in love with London the minute we arrived. The tube system is just perfect compared to what we have. Most of the people are really friendly, and I loved the way everybody seemed busy with something; eating in the park, reading a book, shopping. I don't know, the whole vibe was totally different from the Netherlands.
I have to admit, I felt much safer in London then I would in Amsterdam, because I didn't see any junkies or weird people talking to you and begging for money, and we didn't see people smoking weed; that was so strange, whenever you are in Amsterdam, you smell weed, everywhere, and I didn't smell it once in London. I love the way that you are anonymous in the city, you can do whatever you want, nobody cares. On the last day we just sat in a park, and just looked at all the different cultures, everybody seems so peacefully. (or is this just my imagination?)
I do have to say that London is an expensive city; I went to Topshop, and all the other shops, but I didn't buy anything, it is just way too expensive compared to our prices.
Overall, I would love to live in London, would love to be a part of that city, but only if I was rich.
I rate it four stars, because I am Dutch, and I want to shop cheap, gheghe!
Funny to read this comment, I thought Amsterdam was lovely and friendly compared to London, and I felt much less threatened walking around in Amsterdam than I do in London!! Really strange, isn't it! I wouldn't describe everyone in London as friendly either - loved your review very refreshing x
james564 24.09.2005 19:38
Its very nice to hear about how someone from another country enjoyed their time in London! James x
elkiedee 19.04.2004 02:16
Like others I'm surprised that you only seem to have seen the positive side of London - my brief impression of Amsterdam was pretty good. Luci