The Wonder of London – a city you will never Finish Uncovering – follow the Guide, exploring 33 Walks

Looking at the number I wrote on paper, I had to reread 25, which said 25 years! I must admit that it seems not very comforting. It feels weird to think that I have lived in London longer than in the town where I grew up, and honestly, I never thought I would end up in London.

When I first set foot in London, it was with my high school and our very charismatic English Teacher, Mr Espesset. Everyone at the school, girls and boys, loved to learn English with this teacher because his teaching was fun, challenging a bit unconventional but remember, this was the 70s, so there were not many rules and regulations.

From a young age, I loved learning English. I don’t understand why but languages fascinated me, and I started to learn English with the Assimil English Language Book, which mentions the famous phrase “My tailor is rich”. Every day I walked to school, I would pass restaurants called “La Ville de New York” (The City of New York) and La “Ville de Londres” (The City of London). As a teenager, I spent hours reading English novels translated into French that my mother bought for me. Most stories about Girls living in an English Boarding school made me want to attend one of these schools. Somehow I imagined a fantasy life moving away from home, walking on lush greens in the English Countryside, spending my days horse riding, learning and writing. I know now that boarding schools are nothing like that, but the fantasy was alive for a long time. England had always had some attractive appeal for me. Listening to many English songs on the radio was another factor in learning English and being curious about what this island had to offer. Was I under the influence? Somehow London was never on my list of places to live. But the attraction was strong, and London looked like a very exotic place. I wanted to go to England and work as an “Au Pair”, but I always chickened out at the last minute and never filled the pink forms I was contemplating on my desk.

I went back for a second visit to England while studying to become a travel agent. Our whole group visited London and Brighton ten years after my first visit. London was the right place to woo young people and teenagers. Just across the Channel, everything looked so different from home, the food, the people and an incredible sense of freedom that was palpable on the street of London. Somehow at the time, I was more focused on moving somewhere to the South of France for heat and warm weather. The weather in England is what killed the attractiveness of ever moving there. I remember my first visit to London. I was stunned by how the weather changed so quickly. Walking along Westminster Bridge, it changed every 5 minutes. It was rain and shine in a fraction of a second. The clouds looked like a Turner painting, but the constant rain made me wonder what this place was about. Moving forward, I forgot about London entirely until I moved to Luxembourg for a new job. Destiny had other plans for me somehow. Sometimes the more radical you are, the more you attract what you want to avoid. Living in Luxembourg at the time was fun. Many expats met in the evenings in the local English pubs set at the bottom of the town in the Grund. The English language seemed to be the norm among ex-pats. I immensely enjoyed my time in Luxembourg; for once, I earned decent money and had a challenging job. I worked for a prominent investment firm selling mutual funds to the German market. On the first day at work, I walked out with a headache, having had to speak German all day. The town was bursting with energy, with all the young people on the road to ambition finding new jobs in very prestigious corporate companies like banks and law firms. It was a bit as if London had been recreated here. This meant many English expats were in the town, and one of these expats and I hooked up. And this is how I ended up in London, my there friend.

I moved to England precisely 20 years later after my first visit. This time it was very different. I was pregnant with my first child and decided to make the most of my “free time” before the baby arrived to visit London. It was a time when I could finally explore the city and discover its vastness. London Public transport makes it very easy to travel around town. First, I mostly stayed in areas like Kensington and Chelsea, Notting Hill, walking by elegant townhomes and pastel-coloured houses. Pubs were not the place for me, and I would enjoy the beginning of the cafés culture booming in London by stopping at cafés like the Coffee Republic and the Seattle Coffe Company before Starbucks took them over. The food scene was another place where everything was changing with the arrival of the Europeans and the influence of European cuisine, primarily Italian. There were so many places to delight your food taste far from the reputation of bland English food. London was in full overtake of the continent, its culture, food and people, which made the city even more fascinating.

I spent days walking around. It was the best way to uncover the city, step by step, one street at a time. Spring was in full bloom, and London was one city that knew how to celebrate nature. The lush green across the Royal parks, the Magnolia tree blooming at every corner of an elegant townhome. The white and pink cherry trees crowning the alleyway created a magical scenery to wow you at each street corner of the SW postcode.

When walking in London, be open to changing your itinerary, explore the square gardens and wander through the parks. Go beyond the main street and explore the mews, the back roads. In my 25 years, each time I took a walk, I uncovered new places, a new treasure trove that makes this city so beautiful.

I recently decided to go back to uncovering the London I discovered over the years to find new places, changed scenery, and this time take my camera to create photographs and videos I can share with you. For this, I have the book The 33 Walks in London you shouldn’t miss by Nicola Perry . In the next few weeks and months, I will share blog posts, videos, and photographs about my discovery of London. My mission is to guide you and inspire you through this fantastic city. Here are some areas I will walk you through and what you can look forward to uncovering.

London’s hidden gems await your and my discovery. These 33 walks offer a remarkable journey through this enchanting city’s heart, from secret gardens to quaint neighbourhoods, historical landmarks to cultural hotspots. I will venture off the beaten path. Immerse yourself with me in the beauty and charm that await around every corner. Let’s Unveil the city’s best-kept secrets, create memories to last a lifetime, and be inspired by the countless stories London has to tell. Let’s embark on an adventure and let London reveal its treasures

“Not all those who wander are lost”

— J.R.R. Tolkien

With each step, we’ll find ourselves closer to the essence of London’s true soul. I can’t wait to share this discovery with you. Stay Tuned.

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