We all know that Italians can teach us Americans a thing or two about living life, but what our English-speaking friends across the pond?
If you've spent time in London, you know that the Brits have--generally speaking of course--a stellar sense of humor, a wicked press culture and more than a pint or two in the evening. But what can we take from them and bring home with us after our travels?
Here are seven things worth thinking about on this side of the Atlantic.
1. Be outside when you can. Post-work, office dwellers stream into the city's many parks or stand outside and drink beers until late at night. Sure, London has the benefit of late-night light in the spring and summer, but we should learn to be outside more, too (which is easy to say when it isn't 30 degrees in NYC).
2. Try new things. There are always new restaurants to try around town, new pubs opening and, because the city is so big, there are constantly new streets--even mews--to find. Hell, cabbies have to have their A to Zeds with them to find streets most of the time.
3. Take public transport. Speaking of cabs, they're ridiculously expensive in London. Public transportation isn't. The buses are super easy to hop on and off of and the tube zigzags around town as if in a maze. The one downside: In order to exit the Tube you have to re-enter your card into the kiosks, which is a huge time suck and foot traffic jammer.
4. Value the arts. London, as is true for many American cities, has its fair share of museums, many of which--including the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum--are free. Plus, London has galleries galore, a great music scene, a long history of a love of literature and an entire district (much like the Theater District in NYC) devoted to plays and musicals. There's practically no reason not to take in some sort of cultural event any night of the week.
5. Be wheelchair accessible. London's public transport is one of the best for wheelchair accessibility thanks to its accessible buses (the Tube, since it is 150 years old, is harder to change) and taxis.
6. Markets, markets, markets We may have farmer's markets aplenty in America, but there are the classic markets--such as the revamped Spitafields--that are wonderful ways to eat a quick lunch or pick up a cheap present--scattered throughout London. We need more of them.
7. Appreciate history. Londoners have been through a lot. The town has also been home to many of civilization's great thinkers and writers. As such, there are commemorations of important events, blue plaques on historic buildings and a deep remembrance of the city's history that are engrained in its people. Americans gladly celebrate July 4th or Presidents' Day as a way to get time off--yet do the majority of Americans still celebrate Veteran's Day?