Why is the truth so hard to deliver? I have been struggling over writing about London. Why? Because I didn’t like London…at all. In fact I didn’t just dislike it; I hated it. I have never, ever disliked a place so much during my travels. Because London is so highly rated in many travel lists, and it has been on my bucket list for years, I kept asking myself, “What is wrong with me? What am I missing?” I felt like either I was staying in the wrong area or was just running into bad luck. Neither had any truth to it. I have traveled enough to know that what makes me fall in love with a place or just plain enjoy a city is for one or more of the following reasons: the city is beautiful, the hotel is noteworthy, the people are cool/interesting/nice, the food is good, the art and/or architecture is extraordinary, or I discover something new. None of these applied to my experience of London. To make me dislike the city even more there was a tube strike, the tour bus only went in one direction, and the food was really, really bad. And finally, London was THE most expensive city I have ever visited. This would have been fine by me if there was something to deem it worthy of high prices, but to pay the most I have ever paid for terrible food, a terrible hotel experience, and mediocre art and architecture in my eyes was utterly disappointing.
There was one funny/not so funny thing that really left a bad taste in my mouth of London. When I tried to get a glass of champagne at The Ritz Hotel bar, they wouldn’t allow me in because I had sneakers on. Now, I’m not talking about Nike’s. I had on Italian sneakers hand made in Italy with a retail cost of nearly $600 U.S. dollars. The woman at the bar actually offered me a “loaner” pair of shoes to put on if I wanted to stay and have a drink there. WTF! I was so taken aback that I was actually speechless. My sneakers were the same ones, I just realized, that I wore to the stunning Ritz Hotel in Paris just less than five months earlier as well as the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul just another five months before Paris. In retrospect, I wish I stayed at the bar of the London Ritz just to see what kind of shoes they would have given me. It would have made for a more humorous story for you to read than this version. But since I have OCD I guess it was better that I left.
I don’t regret going to London at all. I would have gone there at some point in my life so now I have it out of the way. But I think what really saved me from going absolutely crazy in London was that I booked a trip to Amsterdam to get the hell away. That was the best idea. EVER.