I admit that London has not been at the top of my European destinations, it’s been unfairly overlooked while I had my eyes on Paris and Barcelona. However, as entertainers, my husband and I sometimes get to visit places that pleasantly surprise us and question our assumptions about the world. London was one of these.
The famously temperamental weather of London was rather generous to us and it only poured one out of the four days we were there. I found myself actually embracing the clouds and moodiness of London’s climate. There is a beautiful contrast between that understated grey and the opulence of London’s architecture.
And contrast seems to be the emphasis of London’s personality. One minute, you could be engaged in the elegance of afternoon high tea at Fortnum & Mason (also known as the Queen’s grocer); and the next you could find yourself ordering a locally brewed pint in a lively pub. You can step from the serenity of St. James Park with its diverse population of gorgeous English ducks to emerge at the lavishly golden gates of Buckingham Palace. You can finish a rainy morning immersed in the rich history of myriad London museums and begin a sunny afternoon shopping on the colorful streets of Nottinghill.
I can’t say that I yet understand London, but our eyes have now met. And the great world that vaults around us, diminishes in size. Having visited the nation whose past power to have instilled my second language, warm and quirky and grand in those first exchanges, nations’ differences in my imagination cower, when our eyes beheld.