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London – Where Life Has All It Can Afford

May 22, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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Our visit to London was different than the usual Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Westminster Abby tours. While we did do a few of the touristy ventures we also took a dip into the local lives of Londoners and of course cherished every second of our time there. Because just as Samuel Johnson said…

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

- Samuel Johnson

I’m sure all of you remember the Inca Trail, the four day trek we took back in January when we began our travels. Well, we were lucky enough to be paired in a group with an amazing couple from London who have now become dear friends of ours, Dave and Claire. We kept in touch with each other throughout the rest of their travels and ours as well, and when it came time to plan our visit to London we were ecstatic to see our new friends once again! We stayed with them in their wonderful Northwest London flat, where for the first time in a while we felt just as we were at home…. Eating meals at home, visiting their local pubs, and going to a movie theater! It was such a wonderful treat to spend time with new friends and experience their everyday way of life in the fabulous city of London.

Before I get into our one week of everyday life I will share with you a little bit of London for those who have never visited this royal city. Even though both Tyler and I had visited London before, it’s hard not to try again and get a good spot at the changing of the guards at Buckingham palace, see where William and Kate just said their I do’s, and visit the most famous clock in the world, Big Ben!

The Changing of the guards takes place in front of Buckingham palace at eleven am every morning. I truly believe no matter how early you get there, or where you stand, your never in the right spot when the other thousands of people show up to see it with you…. But seeing the royal guards are something you just can’t pass up, its always a treat.

The gorgeous Westminster Abby is where the wedding of the year/decade just took place a few days before our arrival. This is where Prince William and Kate Middleton said their gorgeous royal I do’s! It’s always an amazing place to visit, but considering the timing it seemed even more fabulous than ever.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are a sight I could never get tired of visiting.

As we all know visiting markets is one of my favorite things to do, but I think I forgot what it was like to visit a normal market… One without everything including dental floss being sold at it (Don’t forget this is our first western country to visit in months). The Portobello Markets in the Notting Hill area of central London was such a treat. The market is filled with silver galore, platters, tea kettles, cutlery, and more. The vintage jewelry was amazing, the leather goods, stamps, food, and live music made for a fun day spent in the city.

Primrose hill was one of the many local places they took us that stuck out. As they explained it was definitely a local first date kind of place, with a gorgeous view of the entire city of London and couples gathered all around on top of the hill, but it was a magical place to see. It’s also in this area that people like Kate Moss and Jude Law live, and with all the amazing homes in the area you can definitely see why!

While we were visiting London Claire also decided we should take a Sunday trip to Cambridge to visit the quaint little town and beautiful university. I decided after seeing this gorgeous campus, as much as a dislike school, I would probably go back if I could go there! It was incredible. We went punting in a little boat to see the different colleges of Cambridge, and the building that of course stuck out more than any was one I’m sure you will recognize too… From Harry Potter!!

One of the fun local activities in london is visiting a local pub. Never empty, in London, Pubs are just as irresistible to the locals as they are the tourists. Some have that old classic Tudor look, and others are brand new establishments. But no matter what they look like on the outside the local pubs are filled with friends on the inside, gathering around at tables, some eating the delicious and typical fish and chips meal, and others are there to just enjoy an ice cold beer. Regardless of the time of day or mood your in, the local pubs are always packed with people and filled with smiles. Our pub experience was extra special getting to see my good friend Allie who has been in London for the past couple of months. Being the first friend I had seen since leaving, made seeing a familiar face extra special.

Speaking of Dave and Claire’s everyday life in London… I must share with you the interesting things we learned about this amazing Jewish couple. Their strict kosher rules might have made it difficult for me to surprise them with a meal or bring home a bottle of wine at first, but the more we learned the more fascinated we became. For starters they have two sets of silverware! One set for meat and one set for everything else. They can’t eat meat and dairy together, and must wait three hours after eating meat to have anything dairy. Of course, this vetoed my favorite meat and cheese platter I tried to make for them. However, it’s obviously about so much more than rules and one of the most fascinating things they do is celebrate the sabbath… Which is Saturday for them. From sunset on Friday night to sunset on Saturday night they reflect on their week and keep away from the daily chores and habits of the rest of the week. No turning on their lights, ovens, dishwashers, etc. No using cars, public transportation, or anything else. They can visit the synagogue, talk and spend time together, read a book, rest, and reflect on their week of hard work. To begin the sabbath they prepare a big meal before the sun sets on Friday night, invite friends over to celebrate with them, sing songs of prayer and blessings for their food and family, wash their hands and break the bread before beginning the meal. As an outsider looking in, it reminded me a bit of when I was young, when everything was closed on Sunday. Back then even if you wanted to run errands it wouldn’t do much good to try on Sunday, unless your could ckete your list at Walmart. You would go to church, eat a big meal, and rest.

It’s such a treat to watch people hold traditions especially in a world that has come so far away from tradition. I think we could all learn a little bit from people we meet everywhere we go, and I don’t think Tyler and I could have every imagined meeting two people as wonderful as Dave and Claire, a true blessing to our lives.

Cheers,

T+C

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One thought on “London – Where Life Has All It Can Afford

  1. Hey guys! I am a friend of Trissi Lemons and have been so excited to hear about your amazing trip! I plan on looking around your blog this summer and reading as many blog posts as I can. What a spectacular experience!!!!

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