London – I Was Wrong

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Dear London,

I was wrong about you. I thought that you were just an expensive, boring city with bad food. But now I realize I wasn’t giving you a proper chance to show me your good side.

Tonight as I exited my apartment in Camden I saw someone getting a mohawk and asked if I could come in and take his photo. I ended up having a great conversation in the barbershop and realize you do have a more interesting side.

And you know the funny thing is I think Toronto suffers from the same issue. The city is terrible for tourists unless they know someone, which is why I wrote about things to do in Toronto and try to show the more interesting side.

It turns out your interesting side is far away from the museums and tourist attractions but in the neighborhoods.

I’m calling a truce. I will no longer say bad things about you – except about your food because you haven’t proven me wrong about that – yet.






Join the Conversation

  1. I still can’t say I love London, but I see what you mean. It’s a tough city to get to know, but when you do, she rewards you.

    SO true about Toronto, so true. Which is too bad, because I want visitors to love it as much as me.

  2. EarthDrifter says:

    I had a great weekend in London but it was because I stayed with a friend in Greenwich. Ended up going to a baby naming party that turned out to be an afternoon champagne festival in a beautiful, big park.

  3. A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer) says:

    Good girl 🙂 No one can hate London after spending a reasonnable amount of time there!

  4. If you needed some advice about London, you should definitely have gotten in touch! We lived there for three years, and I even worked at VisitBritain and VisitEngland!! London is easily one of the most entertaining cities in the world, with a bar, pub, restaurant, theatre, museum and gallery for every kind of taste imaginable, really. And the!! Between Foursquare, TripAdvisor, TopTable, TimeOut and Le Cool London you can find the best of any type of cuisine in the world! Just saying! You don’t have to know a local even. We hope the next time you go, the post you right is London…I’m in Love! 🙂

  5. *bites lip*

    OK. I absolutely agree that at first sight, London can look grim, thanks to the most common form of weather, the light that goes with that weather that turns everything into shades of grey, and the English self-effacing (self-assassinating?) reluctance to promote anything worth promoting. At first sight, London looks sprawling and cold and unfriendly and dull.

    This is why I say it’s impossible to get a feel for London in just a few days. Not when you can easily fill 2 days in the British Museum alone…

    And yes, taking shortcuts, like your recent one through Camden – that’s when a seemingly modern city turns into a fantasy realm, as Neil Gaiman captured so well in ‘Neverwhere’ (

    Glad you’re seeing the side of London that thrills me. 🙂

  6. Regina @ aNomad'sDream says:

    Very interesting to hear you changing your mind. We haven’t gotten to know London yet, other than a place of ‘traveling through’.
    But I think many big capital cities can be hard to warm up to. Usually residents have a different attitude than in small towns and you never feel like you actually got to “fully” see it all. So I guess more time is key for big cities?

  7. Hah! I thought of the EXACT same thing when I was in London a couple weeks ago. It was interesting to be on the other side and being the “tourist” in London. I definitely didn’t LOVE the city, but I’d be willing to give it another try.

    And ditto to what you said about Toronto!

  8. Katie (@wandertooth) says:

    Interesting perspective – I went to London as a teenager to visit my brother who was doing a working holiday and bar tending, and I thought London was the best. But Geoff has never been, so there’s no doubt we’ll be going back at some point. After reading your London post, we’ll definitely be calling everyone we know there and trying to find a local-ish area in which to stay.

  9. No place is too amazing on your own! Knowing a local always makes a difference! I would have to put London as my favourite city in the world! I have lived here for two years and even at times when im alone I can still find something exciting to do, even if it is just a self educating day at museums or self exploring in parks or random streets in the city. London is the only city I miss when im travelling away

  10. Ugh, the food! Seriously I think my best meals were at a farmer’s market I stumbled upon…definitely need an insider’s guide to eating well!

  11. Mike Cotton says:

    I knew you would grow to love London and especially Camden.

  12. Antoinette | love.antoinette says:

    Ayngelina, I gotta say, being a New Yorker, London is the only other city I’ve come across so far that is pretty comparable: lots of things to do, never a dull moment, awesome restaurants & pubs, extensive public transportation, street art, fashion & style, flea and food markets, diverse culture, etc… I feel right at home in London!

  13. Emily in Chile says:

    LOVE this photo. Great capture of both the moment and that guy’s personality!

  14. I’ve fallen for London – hard. But I know exactly what you mean here, because both my trips to London have entailed me hanging out with friends and doing very few touristy things…

    It’s an amazing city, and I hope to spend a lot more time there this year!

  15. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Great shot!!! Love that you’ve changed your mind. Hopefully, I’ll have that experience with London as well.

  16. TammyOnTheMove says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with London. I used to work there and hated the commute, the grumpy Londeners and well don’t get me started on the food. 🙂 But on the other hand there are so many places that are just so gorgeous: Camden, Borough Market, Notting Hill, Portobello Road and The Strand with all its really old English pubs.

  17. I’m glad you came around and appreciate London more.

  18. Lauren, Ephemerratic says:

    I loved London, but I love cities and love their neighborhood character (and characters) even more. Glad you found something to enjoy there.

  19. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    I miss London too (I think I mentioned that one your previous article lol). I almost went to Toronto for a press trip last November, but I didn’t push through because I thought it was boring (chose Taipei over Toronto lol I am nuts). I should’ve read your Toronto post beforehand!

    OT: I am writing about my weekend Cebu trip. Hehe 😀

  20. I loved London from the start! But maybe it was the LA in me. 🙂 In regards to the food, when David and I went, we found great Indian and Spanish restaurants to grub at haha.

  21. Perhaps I need to readjust my preconceived notions of London as well. Especially seeing as though I’ll be in Europe for a month in the next few…

  22. I’m glad you changed your mind about London, I love that city and I think it has so much to offer and for everybody’s taste.

    The food isn’t the best, true..
    Have you tried fish & chips? Greasy but tasty!

  23. That’s a great photo. I don’t love London, but there are parts of it that I really like, and I lived there for a while. The neighbourhoods are what make it interesting, I think.

  24. Glad London is getting your skin 🙂 About the food… let me know next time you´re in the city, and I´ll show you around if you want!

  25. I’m glad you ended up liking London. I was fortunate to have my dad living there when I was younger. I love that photo of the guy getting the mohawk, and I can imagine that the conversation with them was a cool experience.

  26. Lesley Peterson says:

    That’s a super photo! London is likely my most favorite city in the world. I find it very homey and relaxing, love to explore its neighborhoods.

  27. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad says:

    I agree, I don’t think London is such a great city for tourists, but it is a great city for expats! You have to get to know it, figure out the places for yourself; and you have to forgive it its flaws (like the bad weather and rush hour on the tube).

  28. Love to hear that you are coming around to London. I used to hate on London as well, when I lived in the UK, as I’d only ever visited it, and found it to be big, dirty, noisy, expensive and crowded.

    Then I moved there and decided it was the best city in the UK. Lived there for two years and loved every minute. It’s a long term commitment sort of place 😉

  29. Haha. Sorry the food is still disappointing you. I think you are right about having to get to know it though. I grew to love London over time. Perhaps there’s hope for me liking Brazil yet!…

  30. Brilliant. I’ve just laughed my pants off: you previously thought London “boring city with bad food” – wow – I am really struggling to believe that. At least you changed your mind eventually, though.

    Courageous blog, and life, by the way. Perhaps it’s time for me to take a leaf out of your book. But how?

  31. dating sites says:

    Very interesting to hear you changing your mind. We haven’t gotten to know London yet, other than a place of ‘traveling through’.

  32. William K Wallace says:

    London “boring city with bad food” – I think, that maybe Ayngelina could be boring and has bad taste in food…

    People harp on about wanting an insiders guide to London, why not try reading some of the many London blogs… aint it obvious!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      This made me laugh because I actually have quite a few friends who are bloggers in London. I do think you need to know locals to find the good food, which is why I am now admitting I was wrong.

  33. I’m a born Londoner, now living just outside of Toronto and just gone past my 1 year anniversary. I’ve realised how much i love London city and I miss it so so so much. I find Toronto, is too quiet and does not have much of a buzz- no offence. Everything in the suburbs is cookie cut and boxy. Having said that, i’ve found the houses by the lake to have great character. Thats it! London has character! No architecture is alike, mix of old and new, convenient high streets, restaurants, bars around every corner and there is always something happening! And like another post, i can amuse myself- go for walks in neighbourhoods, beautiful parks, exhibitions! I used to work in S.Ken and in my lunch breaks walk over to the Natural History Museum to draw! Even in the rain- its glitters! And i love its grittiness! I hope i can come back to you one day soon London!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I take no offense at all! Toronto is definitely not for everyone, although I’d never live outside it. The suburbs are indeed boring.

  34. Samuel the Cat says:

    I’m going to London next week.
    And I’m so glad to find your “letter”:)
    At least I know what to expect xD

  35. Ellen Hawley says:

    I have no grudge against London, but it’s not the whole country. Come down to Cornwall. It’s ridiculously beautiful.

  36. There are many wonderful places in the UK. I am not a fan of London myself, I prefer the quieter areas away from the city. Perhaps, you;’ll come back and explore some more in the future.

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