1. Ordering tea almost always means a pot of the sweet elixir, complete with the appropriate fixins: milk and sweetener of choice. (honey for me)
2. Less than three hours from Paris. C’mon on.
3. People here are born with walking in their blood. And although it is a wonder that taking a journey to somewhere a few hours away is perceived as quite a feat, a walk of ten, fifteen or twenty miles (or more) is viewed as perfectly normal. There are, in fact, quite a few television programs dedicated to walking — along the coastline, in the Peaks, among the paths in the Lake District.
4. Free entry to museums.
5. The “fast food” chains here are, in large part, fantastic and fresh. On more than a few occasions I’ve grabbed a bite at Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee, and have enjoyed quite the delicious scone at one of the many Patisserie Valerie. (All with free wifi, I might add.)
6. A mere three hours to Paris. (I’m probably going to mention this at least once more.)
7. While plenty of things, like beverages, are noticeably more expensive than back home, I have been throughly impressed by the availability of many different types of food at the local grocery stores. Things that are *only* in the speciality aisles in the supermarkets in the States are part of the everyday collection here. And the biscuit selection. Who knew oaties and oat cakes were not one and the same?
8. The buildings, the balconies, the buttresses and butter colored walls. The streets are a feast for the eyes. Walking into an average coffee shop or bookstore is also a chance to experience a bit of architectural history. The Daunt Books in Marylebone is just one of many examples.
9. Walk twenty feet and hear 20 different languages. Somehow, as cosmopolitan a city as New York is, the overwhelming anxiety around “English only” political mania (perhaps) seems to mute the vocalizations in most other languages.
10. Paris. In 2.5 hours. (or 9 hours if you have some time, want to take the bus and only want to pay 4 pounds — on Megabus)
11. Gathering spaces everywhere — squares, parks, stretches of land that encourage stretching. (Although beware of the fellow with the neon yellow vest and portable credit card machine who walks around St. James Park who asks whether you’ve paid to sit in one of the inviting green and white-striped hammock chairs spread across the lush lawn — although those portable credit card machines are handy.)
11a. Portable credit card machines that make dining transactions just that much easier.
12. Lack of neon.
13. The pot of tea thing again.
14. And Paris.
15. Even in London, things move just a bit slower.
*I’m not really moving to London… yet.