England: Exploring London
Posted in November 2015, but back-dated to July 10th, the day we actually left London.
My second visit to London might as well have been my first. I barely remembered anything from the first visit 10 years ago other than laughing with friends, watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, running in a park, and eating at Wagamamas for the first time. Otherwise, my memories were empty.
This time, Nik and I stayed in an apartment just north of Kingsland in an effort to find out what it would be like to live here, and the verdict was that we would like it. Partly because it would be easy, but mostly because the city is interesting and felt more diverse than every other city in the world. You could build a life here surrounded by places and people that you most identify with, and then take a 15 minute bus ride in any direction to a completely different world.
During our visit, we tried to see as many of those worlds as possible AND we were lucky enough to be joined by a couple friends. My most favorite moments were those spent in the museums. The Natural Science Museum was especially incredible. I could have stayed for hours just staring at the cabinet of humming birds, and then for more hours in the main gallery. I also loved the Tate Modern.
I was also pleasantly surprised when we stumbled into the Barbican. It is a massive brutalist utopian community designed in the 50s and opened in the 80s. The surprise was that it is actually a functional place for life, work, and culture. The apartments are full, the arts center is booming, and the courtyards are teaming with people on their lunch breaks. If I had to live in a planned community, this would be at the top of my list.