After spending four and a half weeks in Copenhagen and two weeks traveling around Europe, I got to London more than ready to settle in one location and unpack my suitcase for more than just a few days at a time. In the two weeks prior to arriving in London, I visited Copenhagen, Denmark; Bergen, Norway; Prague, Czech Republic; Milan, Italy; Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Vienna, Austria. Out of these eight cities (in eight different countries), London reminds me the most of being back in the United States. Aside from the lack of a language barrier (I definitely missed having English menus and street signs during the month and a half I spent in a variety of non-English speaking countries), London possesses many other qualities similar to U.S. metropolitan centers. The city reminds me much of New York City. Both densely population financial centers are global centers of business and culture. While the tube system resembles many other metro systems across Europe and the United States, only in New York have I ever seen a metro train as packed as some of the tube cars on which we traveled in the past few days. London also houses a greater number of American food chains than I noticed in other European cities- I saw a Chipotle for the first time in almost two months a few days ago.
In my first few days in London, I also noticed many qualities that make the city unique from urban centers in the United States. Like other European cities I visited in the past few weeks, London possesses a much more relaxed culture than major American cities. London has much more green space than NYC, fostering a more relaxed environment. After leaving Lloyd’s, I also noticed the majority of businessmen at lunch were casually drinking and socializing- a midday scene much different from that of the hectic and stressed lives of New York City businessmen. London’s relaxed and social pub culture reiterates this difference from the intense business culture of America, specifically New York. Perhaps Americans can take a lesson from Europeans- business life can still be conducted without so much hustle and bustle and stress.