So I should have kept a list written down somewhere, instead of just in my head. I know I am missing some, but here are some things I learned in London (ok, and Paris…).
1) Their stoplights utilize the yellow light more than ours. The lights go from green to yellow to red. Ok, normal, right? Then they go from red and yellow (at the same time) to green. So weird. But I guess it lets you know to get ready, green is coming.
2) Their streets, much like Dublin (and a serious life saver…literally), have painted on the ground which way to look. “Look Left” and “Look Right” so that when you are attempting to cross the street, you look the correct way and avoid being run down by a double-decker bus! Even after a week, I still needed those guides to remind me that traffic is coming from the opposite direction!
3) We learned many things on our tour with Alan, and this is where I really wish I had written down (or recorded) his little tidbits of information. These next two are from him: in the English countryside, each town would have a church and each church would have a steeple. The steeple was the tallest point in each town. Every year there would be races from town to town and they would start from the church and end at the church. The racers could see the steeples and know where to go. Hence, the Steeple Chase.
4) When Christopher Wren was re-building St. Paul’s Cathedral after the great fire, he was not allocated enough money to renovate or build it as he wanted. There was a decree or order that a St. Peter’s Church be built elsewhere in London instead. Wren appropriated much of the funds to renovate St. Paul’s from the funds allocated to St. Peter’s, hence the term robbing Peter to pay Paul!
5) These people don’t eat turkey. Seriously, I could not find a turkey sandwich to save my life. There were a couple meals that we wanted to just get something quick and easy and there was nary a turkey sandwich in sight. Jaime said she located turkey slices in a deli, but when compiled in sandwich form, no store creates a turkey sandwich! (Along these same lines, and much like Ireland, they don’t serve grilled chicken, either.)
6) I like trying “local” fast food establishments, or at least the idea of it! I remember in Ireland, Loren and I really wanted to eat at “Supermac’s”, but never got around to it. In France, Jaime and I saw “Quick”, but we were only in Paris for 2 1/2 days, so we wanted to eat well. Had I known that the only fast food restaurants I would find in London were McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and KFC, I would have eaten something at Quick!
7) The people are WAY nicer than Parisians. I suppose that’s not saying much, but everyone was just so kind and so nice. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not Irish, but they were all very helpful!
8) I could live there. London was an incredibly fast-paced city, especially coming from the laid-back city of Paris. But that’s kind of my speed, literally, so I feel like I could fit right in! The tube was very easy to use and navigate and it was a Godsend! We had unlimited travel, so we used it more often than not. Including many times where if we had been required to purchase each trip, we would’ve just walked. And I always felt safe. Even after the football game when Jaime and I got split up and my new friend Kyle got off at his stop. It was late, I was alone, but never felt vulnerable or worried.
**UPDATE** 9) Apparently you are supposed to pronounce the letter Z as Zed, not Zee. I thought he was yanking our chain, but wikipedia confirms. It specifically says, “Americans pronounce it zee.” Well, then.
I am sure there are more things, but that was what I could come up with without writing it down. If I think of more, I will add it! And there will be one more blog post about our last day in London, but I am working on unpacking, uploading and editing photos, organizing souvenirs, resting, laundry, and grocery shopping!