London, you old charmer

My thoughts of London have always been influenced by the almost-fairytale imagery of ornate castles, graceful and noble royalty and a kingdom of people who seemingly loved off-the-wall comedy and highly emotional and dramatic theater, film and television – all with equal fervor. And, frankly, I hope nothing that happens while I’m here completely removes that veil.

I mean, sure, I want to know the “real” London (well, as much as you can know in two weeks). But I’d like at least a few of my youthful imaginings to remain intact, namely the dream of a place so gentile as to be above any petty human failings.

Dose of reality

OK, so there’s a venerable monarch but she’s not astride a white horse doling out pounds. And the Tube (subway train) can be crowded and its riders oblivious.  But what I have found in the short time I’ve been in London are the things I mentioned above and also the things I consider quintessentially British: overcast skies, stylish citizens, warm pubs, avid football fans (soccer for my American audience), eccentric driving, complex streets, a pervasive energy, a fast pace, a melting pot of colonial sons and daughters coming “home,” streets teeming with different languages and a mix of stoicism and contentment.

So much _______, so little time

I could fill in the blank with a great many words: history, architecture, art, construction, outdoor scenery, shopping. I guess it all comes down to one: London. So much London and so little time. I’ve been walking and “Tube-ing” around the city for a few days now. There’s so much to show and tell. Below are just nine out of the dozens of the photos I’ve taken since I’ve been here. If you’re looking for some insight into the out-of-the-way places and views of the London you can rarely see, you might want to check back later. These photos are straight-up nerdy tourist. 

Oh and by the way, I had to tell my mother that there are some folks (Indian) who make southern fried “Perfect Chicken” that rivals the best in the U.S. Surprisingly, she didn’t balk at the comparison, but wondered how I ended up coming all the way to London just to eat fried chicken.