So, I have been living in London for the past year. As my name suggests, I come from Slavic speaking country, called Croatia. After finishing my Master’s Degree I moved to London. Living in London has been great, especially now during Covid-19 as the streets are not full of tourists and there is not much traffic. But, it was a process of getting used to it. Here are some things that struck me the most.
Cars driving on the left line
Everybody knows this. Also, the countries that used to be a part of the British Empire adopted the left-hand traffic such as India, Australia, South Africa and many more. But, the thing that you have to get used to is crossing the roads. You have to look right and then left, not left then right how I have been used to all my life. And what is the thing about all those one-way streets that you never know from which way cars go? So many times I looked the wrong way! You just get used to looking three times before crossing the road. That is the only way. And what about coming back to home country? Three times is a charm!
Writings on pedestrian crossings
This one saved me from my left-right confusion! On the most pedestrian crossings there is writing on the road that says: LOOK RIGHT, LOOK LEFT or LOOK BOTH WAYS. Thank you London for that!
Walking on left side?
In Croatia, everybody walks on the right side. If you don’t know where to walk it probably is the right side. But in the UK you never know. Like, you are supposed to walk on the left side, but suddenly you are in metro, walking between from one tube to the other and you are struck with the sign “Walk right”, and after 50 meters, you turn left and there is a sign “Walk left”. But, this is not exclusive just for metro, it is the way of life here. Walking on the streets is the same. Maybe there are so many tourists, or non-British people living in London who are just as confused as me.
Hi, how are you?
In London, the most common way to great a person is to say “Hi, how are you?” and it seems that for the majority they really are interested in the answer. Whether it is a mailman, some seller, your neighbor or even the electrician, you will be greeted like this. This one, I do really love about London. It made me more aware of the other people and their emotions.
Ooooh sweet Amazon. In Croatia you would order something from Amazon, eBay, or even shops located in Croatia and then you would wait for 2, 3 or even more weeks for the item to come.
But, now… times have changed. I am not proud of this, but the only thing I will say that 1-day shipping is not good for me. The convenience of just ordering something, and getting it in the same day made me buy things I wouldn’t actually buy if I was in the store. Like, there are so much funny things to buy — look at this big Enter button for your computer, who wouldn’t want to buy one?
Not everybody has a concierge, but if you live in a building with more than 4 floors, there is a big probability you will have one. They guide you to your water meters, collect your packages and great you with a smile on the way home. And if you ever have a question about the building, they will probably know the answer.
Oyster card no more
Usually, when you came to London, you would buy a Oyster card that you would top up with money and then it for entering the buses, metro or boat. Well, that is not the most popular thing anymore. Nowadays, you can pay the transport with your credit card, or like me with Google Pay. I just open it on my mobile phone and bring closer to the reader and that is it. You are good to go. ALSO, this is cheaper than the Oyster card or card you pay on the stations. Sometimes with the Oyster card you pay double than you would with the credit card.
Boat as the public transport
Yeah, there are boats that can transport you all around the Thames river. This is the most expensive type of transport in London, but sometimes going home with the boat, watching sunset is a really calming experience. I live near one of the piers, so it is a no-brainer for me.
London has many free museums and they are really great. One of my favorites are:
- The Docklands museum located on Canary Wharf — go to this one if you would like to know more about how London became well, London
- Imperial British Museum — I was here for the 3 hours and only saw the World War I, but the thing is that it was so interesting and so detailed I enjoyed it all the way
- Science Museum — museum where you can see real rockets, and capsules from Apollo 11 mission and all technologies that were invented in the last 100 years
- British Museum — everybody hypes this museum, and I will say it exceeded my expectations, go see it!
EVERYTHING. From paying your water bills and getting certifications of residence to going to restaurant and ordering and paying with mobile phone. Want to rent a apartment? Sure, first here are the photographs and videos of the apartment and then we will meet in person. Love it!