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  • Chloe Chapdelaine

Things I Wish Someone Warned Me About Before Coming to London

Having a boyfriend from England (and having to deal with all his shenanigans and hoop-lah), I thought I’d have an okay grasp on some of the differences between Calgary Alberta, and London England.

I understood that the steering wheels would be on different sides, the money wouldn’t be as colourful, and the streets would be very busy, but I didn’t expect this:

  • There is no such thing as black coffee. YOU CAN’T ORDER BLACK COFFEE. LIKE, THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS. It doesn’t exist! Honestly, I’m surprised I even survived. The closest you can get is an Americano, however it’s still not the same *holds in a sob*. (This will result in some inevitable crankiness)

Even though we didn't have normal coffee, the breakfast was still amazing.

  • It feels very unnatural, but you need to look the opposite direction first when crossing the street (I mixed that up every single time).

  • You become talented at holding your breath and running across the street. Yeah, even though there ARE pedestrian streetlights, no one follows them. Ever. You just literally run and pray you don’t end up on someone’s windshield.

This is the view from the windshield of our taxi. It appears the cars are not following any marked lanes and the traffic is chaos. This is not something you want to walk across.

  • The taxi drivers will give you whiplash. Why? Refer to the previous point. I’m 70% sure one of my taxi drivers ran over a cyclist and kept driving (or maybe it was just the bumpy cobblestones... who knows).

  • You’re more likely to get hit by a cyclist than a car. Those stinkers literally come out of nowhere and they will NOT brake for you. Sidewalks, streets, hotel lobbies, you’re always at risk.

  • Bring cashhhhhh. Everything is priced as you’d find it in Canada, except it’s in pounds. That means everything is 1.7 times more expensive. Yikes.

  • The streets are completely covered in graffiti and it is absolutely beautiful.

  • Who needs a sauna when you can literally just take the London Underground?! All you gotta do is step inside one of those little train tunnels and BAM, full body sweat, makeup is running, the whole train can smell you.

  • The inner streets are lined with mountains of garbage bags. Rather than curb-side bin service, businesses and apartments literally throw tens of bags of garbage out on the edge of the street. This definitely took away from the smell of the cafés.

  • Your burgers will not be well-done unless you specifically ask for it. In Alberta where beef is our specialty, I’m used to beef patties always being, well, cooked. This came as an unusual surprise to me and I don’t know how I feel about it.

  • You may begin to dream in British. One night, all of my dreams consisted of people speaking with British accents. It was quite odd to say the least.

  • Two days is absolutely not enough time to see London. Sadly, I left this city without getting to check off many of the things I wished to see, although still had a jam packed amazing itinerary. I would recommend coming to London for at least one week to fully be able to absorb this culture and place.

A view from the bathroom at the Shard.

Overall, my stay in London was absolutely amazing. Having a “local” as a tour guide (A.K.A. my boyfriend) who took me to romantic places like Oblix at the Shard (“above” all my expectations, literally unlinke anything I’ve ever seen before) and Buckingham Palace definitely facilitated in drastically improving my experience. Give me a couple more days and I’d be able to write you guys a novel.




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