What I'll Miss
- The Tube. This might sound weird, but I thoroughly enjoy riding the tube (aka London's subway system). Its expensive for someone who isn't on a yearly travel plan, but it is incredibly convenient to get anywhere in the massive city, and best of all, its relatively clean and easy to understand. It only took me about a day to go from a nervous traveler who took his time at the check-in machine to annoyed local who got angry at people taking their time at the check-in machine.
- The variety of cultures. A list of the various different kinds of cuisine I've had here: Scottish, British, German, Indian (and lots of it!), Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Turkish, and maybe Swedish (not really sure what the restaurant was, but it was good!). This kind of variety (and authentic variety, I'm not counting something like Panda Express as Chinese here) just can't be found in Cincinnati.
- Little kids talking in British accents. It raises their cute factor by at least 100%.
- Street musicians/performers. Scattered throughout the city and Tube stations are some incredibly talented street musicians, magicians, and various different performers. These aren't your typical people playing the same song over and over hoping to get change after a sports event; some of these guys are amazing performers and professionals, and it gave the whole city a fun atmosphere.
- Borough Market. My favorite place in the city, it's an open-air market underneath the London Bridge on the South Bank. It's open Thurs-Sat every week, and has such an amazing variety of fresh foods, dishes and desserts. So many different options to choose from, with your only choices being to purchase so many different foods that you stuff yourself or just to come back at least one a week. I chose both options.
- Tax already included in sales price. Its a small thing, but its really convenient. If something is listed as £4, that price almost always already has the tax included.
- Student discounts and free museums. Every state owned museum is free to the public (and seeing as we have been staying in the museum district, we took advantage of this), and even the museums that did charge you almost always had a discounted rate for anyone with a student ID. This discount could be found at a variety of places (sometimes even food places) throughout the city.
What I Won't Miss
- Lack of free water/no free refills on drinks. You can't just order water here, and if you order something like a Coke, you pay £2 for a small can and would have to pay another £2 for more! Which leads me to my next point...
- Prices. The pound is stronger than the dollar, so I'm already losing money there. Factor in the fact that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I'm paying the equivalent of $15 for most every meal. I think the cheapest meal I ever ate was around £4 or so, or roughly $7...that starts to hurt the budget after 5 weeks...
- Not being able to eat Skyline Chili. 'Nuff said. If you aren't from Cincinnati, you wouldn't understand.
- Not having any cell service/WiFi. In one sense, it was nice not having an international plan, as it kept me disconnected from the addicting and somewhat pointless worlds of Facebook and email. However, when it came to looking up directions to a location, or restaurant closing hours, it was definitely an inconvenience.
- Restaurant hours. I'd venture to say that 4/5 of places in London close down their kitchens after 7 or 8 pm and only serve alcohol for the remainder. If you want to eat a later dinner, your options are quite limited.
- Lack of AC. This one was only inconvenient because we happened to be in London during the hottest, driest period of weather they have had in years. Still though, sleeping in a room hot enough to sweat in was not exactly luxury.