London to Vienna, Austria

I arrived in London a few days before Brexit was to go into effect.  In the early morning hours on the first day of this momentous occasion, February 1, 2020, I received an email from longtime friend, historical author, and citizen of the United Kingdom, Lee Stokes, concerning his feelings on the separation of Great Britain from the Economic Union.

Lee stated: “Nations must work together at all levels to prevent war. This is especially true in Europe, where the peace has held (since WWII), thanks to the strong NATO military alliance and the economic clout of the European Union. Britain’s quitting the EU has made the EU weaker for me.”


London is young, international, and ALIVE!

During the evenings in London’s West End theatre district, buskers sang popular tunes in Piccadilly Circus to streams of passers-by and to the young perched under the fountain that graces the square. Street artists were hard at work drawing caricatures of customers. Theatres were packed. The streets, squares, promenades in Chinatown, and restaurants were bustling. I attended a couple of theatrical performances, both of which were under US$45.

Covent Gardens, an Italianate arcade square in London’s West End, was a great place for people watching and enjoying free outdoor entertainment. A highlight for me was when the harmonious music of a classical string quintet drifted upwards as I passed by an open-air food court which was below street level. I contributed a few coins in appreciation.

Historic Camden Town, easily accessible by London’s efficient underground transportation system, is well known for its eclectic, fringe marketplace. It is also a popular place to go to snack on international street food while watching Camden’s community narrowboats maneuver the surrounding canal waterways. My favorite fast food stall there sells traditional Venezuelan arepas, a small corn flour pita filed with a variety of ingredients. Lone lines were frequent, but it was well worth the wait.


I’m off to Vienna, once an Imperial Capital, now a major European city of culture. The historic city borders the Danube River and parts of the former East Bloc. It will be my jumping off point for my winter adventures this year as I continue my exploration of Eastern Europe.


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6 thoughts on “London to Vienna, Austria

  1. Your fascinating reports from London, England make me want to spend a week or two in the English capital and enjoy the diversity, culture, food and people you have signposted for us! Interestingly, when a friend from Moscow visited London recently, they had no interest in Venezuelan or any other type of ethnic food, but wanted only one thing: traditional English fish and chips!!

    1. Hi Lee,
      I had to chuckle when I read about your friend visiting from Moscow wanting English food. The international food there is a big hit with the Londoners in the marketplaces where they offer fresh, great international street food at good prices.

  2. Dan Smith

    Hi Merrilee. I’d love to visit London in the near future. Prices are high there I hear? Could you understand the language? I’m back in Otavalo Ecuador. Spending several months here to see how the area treats me. So far so good. I’d like to visit Europe again! See the palace guards and Beefeaters? Dan Smith

    1. Hi Dan,
      So you are in Ocavolo, Ecuador, for several months? Is there a thriving expat community there that you can connect with? I love Ecuador. Beautiful country.

      Regarding London and prices – As you may recall, I always stay in hostels when I travel. Because of this London is very affordable for me. And the theater is amazingly inexpensive compared to the price of theatre in NYC. Enjoy all the international food. I stick to international street food at the markets so that makes the food quite affordable. Language? No problem with English accents. Actually I love British accents. Didn’t get over to see the palace guards this time – maybe next time. There is so much to do in London and so little time whenever I pass through. Love that town!

      Keep on traveling!!!!

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