So, just a few thoughts on going back to London for the first time in 18 months. I was a bit nervous that either myself or Andy (or both of us) would not want to return to Melbourne once we got back to London. We have both struggled with missing our friends and have found it challenging to find similar bonds in Melbourne - although that is getting better and we are slowly starting to feel like we have made some real friends here. I am also frustrated with my job at the moment, and have questioned whether being head of department is really what I want to be doing with my career. It's frustrating because it was a position I enjoyed in London but the structure in my school here is quite different and the role is very administrative. Anyway, I am happy to report that while it was great to see all our friends and family, visiting London made us realize just how good we have it here in Melbourne. Here are some of the reasons why:
London is too busy! I don't know why I didn't remember this. We initially stayed in Brixton and also spent some time going in and out of central London and it just felt like we were constantly dodging people. Even weekdays during the day it was ridiculously hectic. That said, we did have a morning back in Herne Hill, which was probably my favourite place of everywhere I lived in London, and it was lovely and peaceful there. I do miss Brockwell Park and the Lido!
I always complain about the lack of public transport in Melbourne and I still think the system in London is awesome in terms of being able to get anywhere in London (well within zones 1-2) without having to wait long for the tube or train. But boy is it overcrowded. Victoria station is a total nightmare even in the middle of the day and being anywhere near the tube during rush hour (which seems to last from 4-7pm) is insane. I was pretty lucky in London in that I didn't ever have to take the tube to work daily, but I can't imagine being in that situation on a daily basis, it is so stressful! Everyone is out for themselves on the tube, and God help you if you don't know where you are going or hesitate while in the station. It really makes my train ride to work here seem quite peaceful and civilised.
We've also become quite big food and coffee snobs since being in Melbourne. We are so spoiled for choice in terms of cafés and restaurants here and it really made the food in London restaurants seem average at best. Don't even get me started on the coffee. The only good coffee we found was Federation Coffee in Brixton Village, run by Kiwis I believe.
All that said, London is an amazing city and I really did love seeing everyone again. It has highlighted just how far away Australia is from the rest of the world, which is why we can't see ourselves here permanently. It's a shame as Melbourne is such an awesome city, so we will just have to make sure we are taking advantage of living here while we can.
|Drinks above the city at Paramount Bar|