To put the subject “commuters” into perspective, there are apprx. 1 million people passing through Clapham Common, one of London’s busy public transportation hubs, on a daily basis. But this is just one of many hubs. In Copenhagen the busiest train station in Denmark in terms of passengers, Nørreport, will see apprx. 250.000 people passing through daily. Including cyclists and pedestrians!
In other words: London is, in terms of traffic, in its own league! Also culturally I don’t think that there are many places like it. In London you find, quite naturally, a lot of people from the previous crown colonies around the world, such as India, Pakistan, Jamaica and several countries in Africa and the Far East region. And then there are all the other countries around the world. They all have their fair share of “London inhabitants”. This is a multicultural society in the purest sense of the word, and unlike anything I have ever seen. It is pretty cool, in my opinion!
London is a leading metropolis within music, theatre, art and gastronomy. Not surprisingly the city also take the second place on the list of the most expensive cities in the world. Surpassed by Moscow. I have lived almost my entire life in Copenhagen, Denmark and I really did not think that it would be possible to find any place more expensive than that. But London is literally more expensive in almost any way you can think of. So you can just forget all about that shopping trip around Christmas, if you are trying to save money!
Hence we are happy to be able to stay with Alexandra’s family in Clapham in the southern part of the city. This saves us a great amount of money that we would otherwise use for overpriced, mediocre hotels. The main reason, however, is to visit the family and be together. Furthermore it is a great “base” for our trips around the country.
Alexandra’s sister has lived here for 20 years and since I met Alexandra I have been visiting on a regular basis. So both Alexandra and I can with a certain right claim that we know the city well. The inner city that is. Because if you start exploring the various areas (boroughs) of London you will find a lot of smaller “cities in the city” that all deserve a closer look. The very central part of London is in fact not really that big. It is divided into “City of London” and “City of Westminster”. The City of London, with only 7375 inhabitants, was pronounced the smallest city in England in 2011. Today, by far the largest area of London lies outside the original city limits. It contains boroughs like Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith, Camden and Islington. Officially there are 32 boroughs.
Many places in “Greater London” you find main streets, with shops, pedestrian areas and inner city atmosphere. Small markets, parks and of course pubs. Many of which are several hundred years old. Thus they were originally located outside London.