Ten thoughts on London

At the beginning of June I was privileged to spend a few days in London. Some quick observations

  1. Lots of sirens. Our conference venue was opposite Euston so very central so I guess that factors in, but the high frequency was noticeable to me as an outsider.
  2. Litter. London is quite a dirty place and could benefit from a revamp of its litter collections. Also I think a deposit scheme on bottles and cans would work wonders for litter and #3
  3. Homeless. Lots of them and unlike in Stockholm hardly any of them Romany but British.
  4. Drunkenness. Lots of drunk and (alcoholic) men.
  5. Fear. Knife crime and violence was a common topic.
  6. Energy. Stockholm is not a 24/7 city, London never sleeps. There is a creative energy to the city that few places in the world can match.
  7. Beauty. A walk along the South Bank when it’s drenched in evening sun is wonderful – Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Globe Theatre, the Millennium Bridge…so many world-class sights.
  8. Diversity. The world is in London and mostly found a home and a place. That it mostly works and mostly works quite well is to London’s great credit.
  9. Contactless payments. In most things I would say Stockholm is ahead of London smart use of technology but I think London and TfL’s adoption of contactless payments is streets ahead. So easy. Goodbye cash.
  10. Value. I don’t think I can think of a paying tourist attraction in London that I don’t think is vastly overpriced but you can eat cheaper, sleep cheaper, travel cheaper and see many free and amazing things in London compared with many other cities. It’s better value than you might think.

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