Bethany says that the difference between Paris and London is that Paris is a city you visit and London is a city you can be in. As a tourist in Paris one generally does not become so comfortable that they feel they belong there. London, on the other hand, feels immediately like somewhere you become a part of. That, even as a tourist, for the time being you are living here. Having visited both cities now within a few months of each other I can confirm that is indeed the case. We’ve certainly been doing many "touristy" things in the 36 hours or so of being here. But, due to Bethany and I having both visited before (and her even living here for a time), navigating the town feels like old hat. Though I know my time here to be short and it may be a long time before I return, whenever I’ve come I feel a sense of belonging and comfort I feel very few places away from home.
I’ve had a few highlights so far, Portobello Road Market was a menagerie of wonderful curiosities. My favorite restaurant, Belgo Centraal, is still there where I first found it many years ago and still serving the best Mules Frites anywhere outside of Belgium (Beatrix loved them too). And the Jubilee line is still the best tube route (according to Bethany, who am I to argue?). And a lovely time just walking around and feeling like a part of things.
All this is to say that we’re having a marvelous time and feel very much welcome here. We’re looking forward to what the rest of the days bring.