No. 2 - London
"I'm gonna die here," I thought to myself. This was because the cars and trucks and buses all came at me from an entirely different direction than the direction I was accustomed to. I'm writing this now, so obviously, I wasn't cut down in the prime of my life.
This thought came through a number of times during our holiday in London. The large red buses and staggeringly large taxis (of which I am a tremendous fan; there is so much room in there!) came out of nowhere (in my opinion). On our way to breakfast. On our way to the Tube. On our way to the V&A. On our way anywhere.
And we did go everywhere. Mostly. We went to the British Museum (a little plunder-y), that National Gallery (much less plunder-y), the Victoria & Albert Museum (fascinating and really quite wonderful) and the Barbican Center (so brutalist and cool). We spent a great bit of time in Kensington, Westminster, Southwark, Spitalfields, Whitechapel, Covent Gardens and assorted other places.
And we ate marvels at wonderful restaurants like the Palomar, Dishoom, and so many others. Bacon sandwiches for breakfast, lunch of Pret or something similar, a couple of pints at a couple of pubs.
And this is the trouble of writing about a trip, a vacation, a holiday. You get into the discussion of what it was like. You can pick each thing that you did (The Elgin Marbles) and you talk about how it felt (They're amazing. Stunning. They are marvels of the most impossible kind, when men were great and built for the glory of mankind), but you're really not doing much to get the point across. Readers are cynical (at least I hope they are). There's a limit to what you can express with words. They're only words, after all. They haven't the power of places.
London as a place has power. There is magic there, in the snow, in the sun, in the cloudy gloom. There are three other places that I've been where magic is felt: New York, Paris and New Orleans. London is like that too.
I look forward to the day I can go back and sip that magic again.