“I can never understand why Londoners fail to see that they live in the most wonderful city in the world. It is far more beautiful and interesting than Paris, if you ask me, and more lively than anywhere but New York – and even New York can’t touch it in lots of important ways. It has more history, finer parks, a livelier and more varied press, better theatres, more numerous orchestras and museums, leafier squares, safer streets, and more courteous inhabitants than any other large city in the world.
And it has more congenial small things – incidental civilities you might call them – than any other city I know: cheery red pillar boxes, drivers who actually stop for you on pedestrian crossings, lovely forgotten churches with wonderful names like St Andrew by the Wardrobe and St Giles Cripplegate, sudden pockets of quiet like Lincoln’s Inn and Red Lion Square, interesting statues of obscure Victorians in togas, pubs, black cabs, double-decker buses, helpful policemen, polite notices, people who will stop to help you when you fall down or drop your shopping, benches everywhere.
What other great city would trouble to put blue plaques on houses to let you know what famous person once lived there or warn you to look left or right before stepping off the curb? I’ll tell you. None.”
– Bill Bryson, Notes From A Small Island
Reading this book as a relatively new Londoner, it points out how great London really is. Here I am comparing it to New Zealand – the bustling crowds, the bad service in stores and restaurants, the darkness at 3:30pm, but really, it’s in a class of its own. And it truly is wonderful.
I love London.
There! I said it.