As one of the most visited cities in the world, the capital of the United Kingdom is a thriving multicultural metropolis that has something for absolutely everyone.
I have been to London a couple of times and the contrast between the spectacular historic sights and the uber-lively cultural scene make a visit to London an interesting and exciting adventure.
Arriving in London during a hard lockdown amidst a global pandemic, however, is a whole different ballgame. It goes without saying that the outbreak of the coronavirus has had an unimaginable impact on all our lives. I for one never imagined in my life that I’d have to leave (read flee!) a South-East Asian country because of the direct result of a plague. After spending 6 long weeks in lockdown, I got to know London on a more intimate level by making use of my once-daily permitted outdoor excursion. Everyday. I made use of my once-daily permitted outdoor activity every day. My boyfriend and I rendezvoused all over London Town and got particularly closely acquainted with the city parks and green spaces. As I prepare to return to London next week and as London prepares to return to a second hard lockdown, I can’t help but feel a peculiar sense of déjà vu. Read on to learn about the things one could do during the lockdown in London.
London’s gloriously green city parks
If anyone knows how to do a park right, it’s London. The grassy spaces are spread throughout the city, providing flower-power-packed places to unwind and soak up the elusive sun in London. The silver lining to the dark cloud of Covid-19 came in the form of the sunniest April on record in Britain. We arrived in April and spent the entire month at our favourite city park, basking in the sun under clear blue skies - something that is notoriously uncommon in London. In complying with the then coronavirus guidelines, we stuck to our local green spaces from stunning views at The Regent’s Park to city favourite, Hyde Park. We took daily walks to our favourite, The Regent’s Park, which is home to the most stunning rose garden I have ever seen. It was my oasis of peace of mind and like some of the best things in life, frolicking in the park is free.
*My 5 favourite London city parks are: The Regents Park, Hyde Park, St. James Park, Kensington Gardens and Battersea Park
We spent a vast amount of time saddled up on Santander Cycles, going on activity dates featuring well-ridden tracks and scenic routes. It was an experience and a half to be cycling on London roads that have probably not been that quiet since the invention of the internal combustion engine.
Two-wheel travel is the most fun form of exercise we found during the lockdown, and since London is a pretty flat city it was relatively easy to get around by bike. We made sure to gulp in some fresh air, get our lungs and hearts working and spun our way through the idyllic parks and green spaces. We got to discover and explore so much more of London at our leisure, in a fun and interesting way.
*Santander Cycles is a public bicycle hire scheme in London. The scheme›s bicycles are popularly known as Boris Bikes, after then-Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, introduced them during his tenure.
The Namibian High Commission in London
I always try to make a point of “announcing” myself to the local diplomatic mission in the country I’m travelling to or the nearest to the country I am in. I learned first hand about the importance of consular assistance in the event of a real emergency. I’ve lost my passport a few times abroad but that doesn’t compare to getting gravely ill in a foreign country that is in the peak of Covid-19 infections, illness and death. Both my boyfriend and I got sickened with the disease that dealt a major blow to life as we all knew it and was the most serious threat to the world since World War II. High Commissioner Linda Scott and her team were a God-send in my hour of need. The consular assistance I received was remarkable, professional and played a massive role in my recovery.
As I make arrangements to return to London next week, writing this has jogged my memory by nudging all the things I love about London to the front of my mind. London is full of culture, excitement, and that magnificently special British charm. Until next week!
*To keep at the Namibian High Commission in London safe, the Mission is open for Consular Assistance from Monday to Thursday, 10:00 - 15:00. They are reachable by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on: +442076366244.