Return to London after 8 years


Didn’t really felt like taking this business trip. It was going to be tiring during the day and boring in the evenings. Luckily it turned out quite enjoyable…

The typical subway architecture

I was dreading leaving half way Sunday afternoon for a business trip. I was fearing being bored to death in the evenings. I normally am playing with pictures, planning out trips, be with my family, have the cockatoo sleep with me in the sofa before I go to sleep… not really an option on this trip. What options do I have in London? I have played tourist several times, and I don’t like to do things again and again. So, how will I mentally survive? I need to confess what I do when bored abroad while on business trip: I go to a very nice restaurant, start with a nice cocktail and treat myself on a multi-course menu of local delicacies… and repeat it each evening I am there. I want to avoid that – summer is coming – and decided to take all of my photo gear with the promise to myself to go on picture expedition every day. OK, now I am mentally ready to go.

Waiting for the buses to pass by to have the top to bottom stripes

I was exhausted of the long days at work and managed to escape in time every evening for a nice walk and do what I set myself out to do: testing out long exposure shots. What I didn’t account for was the cold… I left home with 28°C, took two trains to get to London and apparently arrived at a country where it didn’t heat up beyond 17°C during the day. By the time I had everything set up for the long exposure pictures temperatures dropped below 10°C with a chilly wind (obviously… being along or above the Thames). Each picture takes about 20 seconds… and I can tell you 20 seconds can feel like a long time when you are waiting in the cold.

Skylines that was not there last time I was here

It has been 8 years since I last came to London and was able to see some of the city. It has changed A LOT! For the better. Everything is so clean, the skyline has changed dramatically with some cool buildings, lovely walkways along the Thames, herds of people walking to work. I even thought the restaurant prices were quite OK. Obviously, as everywhere in the world and especially in the European main cities, it has become swamped with tourists. Next to the tourists, a lot of fully equipped photographers around as well. Nobody looks at you strangely when you are standing behind your tripod, waiting and doing nothing.

Heat spot at the butterfly exhibition

The last day was a day for myself and therefor I could be a proper tourist during tourist hours. I never went to the Natural History Museum on any of my trips. I am not really a museum person, but now I was triggered by the temporary exhibition on butterflies. And I do love butterflies. When I entered the greenhouse the heat and moisture hit me hard – finally, I am no longer cold – and combined with the playful butterflies it instantly reminded me of our exploration of Kulen Mountain in Cambodia, where we were surrounded by hundreds of butterflies in the wild. Yeah, I liked this exhibition…

Conclusion? I like London again. Might go back.