A Few of My Favorite Things —

London is a massive place, packed full of things to do and places to see. Getting lost leads you in to areas that are unique and vibrant, and it’s a near guarantee that you find something great. I’ve experienced so many unique and interesting things by taking walks around the city. To wrap up my London experience I am going to highlight some of my favorite things and activities during my time here.

 

The best food of my life; The Camden Market ice cream, fudge, churro and nuts was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. Other Camden Market highlights include a Venezuelan Arapa, Steak and Chips with garlic butter and finally a Korean burrito with pork. The Camden Market brought together delicious street food from across the world but were a far cry from the best meals I had at London. Some of the best that I had included some incredible pizza; a quick and delicious margarita pizza (with loads of garlic) from Pizza Pilgrims in Kingly court and more importantly the best pizza I have ever had, from Homeslice in Neil’s Yard. I went to the FlatIron for a 10£ Flatiron steak (the only entrée on the menu) which was phenomenal. There were a number of fantastic meals to be had in such a large city.

Another one of my favorite things was found in the Tate Modern. An easy to miss exhibit on the bottom floor of the museum called Forty Part Motet, by Janet Cardiff. I will retell the experience from my first person experience. I was about to pack up and leave after my cell phone died and losing my friend, when I saw some people exiting a dark room with little labelling. “I should probably check it out, don’t want to miss out on anything,” I thought to myself and I walked in. I was hearing some opera-esque music but nothing spectacular. The room was darkly lit with a perfect circle of about 40 high definition speakers, with two large benches located in the center. The room itself was a massive concrete dome structure that best resembled an extremely large bomb shelter, or a massive oil tank. “Oh that’s cool.” I thought to myself and stepped in to the circle. I grow increasingly impressed by the quality of sound and the soundscape of the room when I notice I am one of a few people with their eyes open. Following the lead of others, I sit down and close my eyes, and immediately the room is transformed. Rather then being blasted from every side by some high definition speakers in a concrete chamber, I was in an old time cathedral, being surrounded by dozens of beautiful – yet distinct voices of a massive choir. Each section of the room lit up with sound at different points throughout the song, only occasionally singing in full unison. I sat through the full 12-minute concert stupefied. The difference was tangible between what I initially shrugged off as a cool experience turned in to something near magical. It was only after I opened my eyes did the magic fade, and I exited the circle refreshed.

Finally, I loved the cultural appropriation I have mentioned before (I think), Londoners throughout their history have accepted and embraced diversity and different cultures and this acceptance is apparent in much of what you see in London. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, is the son of Pakistani immigrants, and is Muslim. The most popular dish in London is Chicken Tikka Masala and one of the most popular food chains is Nando’s, Portuguese grilled chicken. Londoners have a deep appreciation for their history and English culture, yet they appropriate and absorb the cultures and identities of their population. Discrimination is not nearly as rampant as in the United States, and I found this out after speaking to an opera singer from Trinidad and Tobago, whom having studying during her childhood in London, was shocked at her differential treatment in America. London’s diversity is celebrated rather than avoided, and the diversity has made remarkable impacts on London.

My time in London has been an incredible experience and not one I will ever forget. I stepped outside my comfort zone in many ways and pushed through the struggles of city living, and adapting to a different part of the world. It wasn’t a perfect experience by any means but I had an amazing time. Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Until next time,

Vincent Vallorani

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