When Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi asked me to participate in a mini-travel linkup focusing on favorite travel quotes, I couldn’t say no. In fact, I was already thinking about doing a little roundup of favorite places to visit in London, and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to combine my favorite quotes together with some of my favorite places in London.
‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’ – Samuel Johnson
Getting tired of London is something I couldn’t see happening. I still find new gems, ones I’ve read about, or just ones I stumble upon during one of my wanderings through town. I still can’t believe that I only found out the location of the bright and colorful Neal’s Yard last winter. I was back in town for a few days and had read about this colorful place on plenty of travel blogs and in guides, but somehow I never managed to find it (or actively look for it, for that matter).
‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’ – St. Augustine
I’m taking this quote a bit too literally with this example, but my favorite bookstore in London has to be Stanfords on Long Acre. This historic travel bookshop is a true heaven for travel lovers. I can spend hours here, just taking in all the inspiration of the thousands of books and maps that are available.
‘I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it is not raining’ – Groucho Marx
Yes, it rains a lot in London, and yes I still love it. When a miracle happens and the weather stays sunny for a few days, it’s a real treat to explore London town. Visiting one of the Royal Parks is one of my favorite activities on such days. Bringing a good book/friends to chat with, a picnic blanket and enough food and drinks (read: Pimms) to last a whole day, is the best preparation for that.
‘The first condition of understanding a country is to smell it’ – Rudyard Kipling
Everywhere you go in London, you’ll be surprised by new and different smells. Rather unpleasant might be the smell of all the fumes of the cars and cabs that fill the city, but ‘smell’ beyond that and you can find some wonderful fragrances of fresh veggies and meat at the markets, as well as food from all over the world. To really experience this wonderful selection of essences you want to go to East London or to Camden Market, where street food is widely available in all the food stalls.
‘It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. The walls of London may be battered, but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed’ – George VI
I’m extremely fond of people from London. In general, I think that they are much more polite and friendly than people in the Netherlands. I also know Londoners for being proud of their city. They hate commuting through the masses though, but when you visit during a less crowded moment during the year, you occasionally find the London commuters stopping for a couple of seconds along Southbank, to take in that magnificent view of St Paul’s – their St Paul’s.
‘Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going’ – Paul Theroux
Let things be clear, I’m not a Londoner. I was born and bred in the Netherlands, and although I’ve lived in London for a little while, I’m still a tourist while I’m there. A tourist ór a traveler: I take both roles with great satisfaction. Playing the tourist when I’m visiting places on purpose, and playing the traveler when I wander somewhere and stumble upon something new. While I was doing a walk this winter in Chelsea for example, I found myself lost in the little streets and alleyways of the borough. The beautiful mews I then found can only be discovered that way.
‘The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane’ – Stephen Fry
The English language is a special one and has developed tremendously over the years. One ‘magician’ with the English written and spoken word obviously was William Shakespeare. A phenomenon in the literary world and his work has been passed on for generations and for generations more to come. And what’s better than seeing a Shakespeare play in action live at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater?
‘To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world’ – Freya Stark
When I woke up that first morning in London I listened to the birds outside of my bedroom and it finally clicked: I was going to spend the next six months in this city. I had a few days before I was due into work for the first time, so it was time for exploring. I remember it quite vividly that one of the first things I visited in London was the British Museum. The Central Hall and the mummy collection was what impressed me most.
‘One must be in London to see the spring’ – George Moore
Yes! Spring in London is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. When trees are filled with blossom and when young baby ducks cheerfully swim around in the London ponds. The best way to enjoy this season in London is to just wander around aimlessly in one of the Parks or in boroughs such as Chelsea, Notting Hill and Richmond. If you are a true flower fan though, head to Kew Gardens for a plant and flower overload.
‘A traveler without observation is a bird without wings’ – Moslih Eddin Saadi
Sometimes I feel that I see London too much through my camera lens instead of through my eyes. However, with photography comes the skill to observe I guess, because without observation, you’re getting nowhere. There are a few places in London which I can visit over and over again, and still being able to find new things with my (camera lens/) eyes. One of those places is Greenwich, with its beautiful park, stunning buildings and the lavishly decorated Painted Hall.
Surely, there are so many more favorite places of mine in London. And I’m sure that there are also plenty out there still waiting for me to be discovered. As you might know already, I’m graduated and will be searching for a job and a place to live in London from October on. As scary as it feels at this point, I’m super excited for the big move. I will get the chance to explore the city to the fullest, and with the ease these days to meet like-minded people, it should go much more smoothly. I’ve now for example joined the Outbound Team, which represents an app that connect travelers. Meeting new people has never been this easy!
For more inspiration, check out the blogs of these amazing girls:
- Jaime – Angloyankophile
- Dannielle – ChicaDeeDee
- Kelly – Flat Eleven
- Rebecca- RunawayKiwi
- Angie – SilverspoonLondon
- Emma – AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
All photos and opinions in this post are my own