Five Reasons Why I love London (because it's so similar to Italy)
I lived in London for a year in 1999 but for various reasons moved back to Leicester. During these 6 years I found myself craving the company of the big smoke. Sardine tin tubes, bumper to bumper traffic and exorbitant rent did not deter me from wanting to reside in this superbly intoxicating city. I always seem to find myself bumping into people from my past. I bumped into an old friend from school the other day in the Tescos next to my house (I had to make excuses for my chavy attire - I was wearing tracky bottoms and had just nipped out thinking I wouldn't see anyone I know) and bizzarely ran into a friend I'd lost touch with from Dubai in the college where I work. Anyway, that aside, I've realised that the reason why I prefer to live in London over any other city in the UK is because it's so similar to Italy for the following reasons:
1. People don't queue for buses in Italy and neither do they here. It's generally a mad scramble with elbows aloft, walking sticks waving and whatever else people can get their hands on to use and prod in the general direction of other people trying to get on - you can even sneakily jump the queue if you time it right and join it at the opposite side just as the doors open and nobody says a word. In Leicester (my home town) people stand in a perfect line and if anyone ever tries to jump it someone will always complain. I think it's a ridiculous sight to see people standing in line like soldiers on parade. I don't see non-queuing as rudeness, just common sense - it should be every man for himself, although I would offer old Doris a seat if she didn't have one. My cousin in Milan offered her seat to an elderly looking lady once to which the woman snapped 'Ma pensi che sono cosi vecchia' - 'Do you think I'm that old'. She hasn't offered her seat to anyone since.
2. People wear sunglasses in all weathers. In you were to wear sunglasses in winter in any other city, you'd probably get the same reaction as if you were to wear a BNP T-shirt in Brixton. Not that I don't think people who wear sunglasses in winter aren't complete arseholes, I just like what it represents - the fact that people can do whatever they want (although this is slightly contradictory as Italians are probably one of the nations that conform the most in terms of fashion).
3. The pizzas in London are decent. Just a short walk from my flat there's Pizzeria Pappagone, La Porchetta and Pizza Delique. When I go to Pappagone I sometimes forget I'm in England - the staff are all Italian and the pizza is to die for - a gigantic melt in the mouth disk topped with delicious fresh ingredients such as artichokes, parma ham and buffalo mozzarella. Outside of London there are some ok pizza chains but the base is usually akin to cardboard and the cheese a 'watered down' version replacing most of the mozzarella with cheddar. I feel sick.
4. Cafes with outside tables. Soho is one of my favourite places in the summer - I remember taking a friend there last year on Saturday morning and having breakfast at Bar Italia. We sat outside in the sunshine and sipped (albeit expensive) coffee. You just don't get that cosmopolitan atmosphere anywhere else. Some British cities are trying, although a couple of steel tables next to the roadside just doesn't cut it.
5. Vespas. And plenty of them. Whenever I hear that beautiful sound of the engine (which I do quite a lot in London) it inspires nothing but pure nostalgia.