With its resilience of spirit, historic charms and cultural vibrancy, London is still teeming with visitors, eager to experience as much as they can in the allotted days.
The rigorously trained cabbies take shortcuts that actually work. One friendly chap was fresh from congratulating a friend who had finally passed his Knowledge of London exam after eight years of trying to get into the Black Cab taxi force. Most were more than happy to chat about the Royals, Brexit and Donald Trump.
Within the course of one Wednesday in London, you might happen upon Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall coming to fetch Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, then wander down to Trafalgar Square to watch F1 drivers zooming about the streets in a pre-Silverstone demonstration.
‘It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London,’ Henry James wrote. ‘It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable or cheerful or easy or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.’
It is also difficult to get a handle on London – and neighbouring City of Westminster – with its maze of 25,000 plus streets, laneways and not so square squares.
Hopping on and off the double decker bus helps. Better yet, a view from above – the London Eye, if you can bear the lines. We got our view from the Radio Rooftop Bar, which sits atop the tetrahedronal ME Hotel London, designed by British architects Foster + Partners.
Down on the street, it was loose plans, eyes everywhere and trying to decide which cobbled paths to explore.
Written by Elizabeth Newton