I am orginially from and also live in Vienna, the most beautiful city there is, but as I am a wanderer by heart and always look for things that are going to improve my personality and my horizont, I did feel the urge to spend some time elsewhere. So crazy me made the decision, after a really bad break-up, that I need a change and want to live somewhere different.
London – thats where I was drawn to.
A city full of life, different cultures, loooooads of tourists, new things to explore – just a different way of life I was used to.
From making the decision to actually moving there 1 month passed. I wasn´t in a hurry, but I am an impatient creature 🙂
leaving Vienna at sunset
But it wouldn`t be my life, if everything would have went smoothly. So my adventure in London started with a nightmare:
My passport was not valid, without me being aware of it. I was travelling around in Europe with this passport for a view years, without travelling to the UK, so I never realised that my passport is actually not valid – shout out to the security system of all the other european countries – well done guys.
I reported my passport stolen a few years prior, as I moved apartment and couldn`t find it for a while. After it appeared again I reported it to the police and the police officer kind of forgot to tell me that I have to let the gouverment know too, oh well, pushing blame on others is easy, isn´t it? – should have done my research.
However, as the british folks are no slobs, they stopped me right away at the border to this lovely country and put me into a room – illegal traveller?
Jap, kind of.
As I am a child inside and a good citizen, I do not get into situations like that ever (I am talking about breaking the law).
So there I was, with my stuffed elephant “Ellie” in my hands (couldn`t fit her into my luggage anymore – and yes, I sleep with a stuffed animal every single night), wanting to start my new life in London, infront of a border-controll-office who tells me that I can not come into the UK with this passport.. What a bummer!
Brits are known to be friendly chaps, so was my border-controll-officer, he gave me a temporary-country-entry-permit, if I promised him to go to the Austrian embassy first thing monday. – which I did.
Due to my passport thing, I wasn´t able to apply for the NI-Number (National Insurance Number), which is necessary to be able to work in the UK. So I couldn`t do anything the first 2 weeks and basically had a nervous-breakdown – that was not the plan.
For the first month I did book an apartment over airbnb – so living-situation sorted.
My bestie Veronika came to my rescue, as I really was at my limits and flew to London.
She did stay with me for a few days and helped me sort a few things and also – through contacts – was able to speed up the passport-issuing-process.
I praise you to the heavens my love.
The moment arrived, I was able to get an NI-Number.
I didn´t go to London with a fixed job already, nope…my mantra:
“No risk, no fun”
I went to the Carousel Consultancy Agency (a Recruitment Consultancy for bilingual people), in the heart of London. As I am bilingual (English and German), that was the most logical choice for me. Valerie, who was in charge of me, was super lovely and helpful and found a job for me within a few days – looking back it was not the smartest move to go to London without having a job, but I wanted an adventure, didn´t I?
I was able to work in finance for one of the most amazing companies I have ever worked for, the people I met at Factory Media (magazine publisher) are one of a kind and I am incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to work with such incredible and creative people. They helped me to feel at home.
The population in London is just a mix of dozenz of Nations, which is incredible. Every day you meet someone from far far away and learn their stories.
London has a population of 9 million people and during the day there are (including tourists and commuters) 21 million people in the city. Isn´t that crazy?
Londoners are super helpful and nice, charming and friendly. I never had to carry a suitcase or heavy bad up the stairs myself.
What I always found super amusing is the fact that Brits would describe Londoners as the rudest people in the UK. I really do not think that applies at all or at least I was lucky enough not to meet one of those horrible people.
I am in love with british people!
Life in general was amazing, I did share a house with 2 people in a nice area.
After a few months one of my friends, Stephanie, did also move to London, for a medical training, so a little bit of Vienna came right into my life to London, which I was extremly thankful for and we the best time ever.
Every single day I found a new place, a new restaurant, bar, park,….new places on every corner popping up like mushrooms from the ground:
- The Breakfast Club close to (Liverpool Street Station) is the best. I am an absolute breakfast-lover, all day long – which is exactly what you are getting there.
When you ever find your way to this amazing place, say the following words at the door, before you are seated: “I want to see the mayor after”
– say this and and after your meal you will be led to the magical fridge-door, which leads you into a tunnel, downstairs a wonderful bar – a hidden gem – with one of the best cocktails in town.
- Chez Elles, oh what a wonderful little piece of France in the middle of Bricklane – (famous for its art, nightlife and so much more). A cute little place with flowers on the wall, perfect lighting, super charming and friendly staff, a great wine-selection and amazing food.My very first romantic London date was in this wonderful little paradise – it was perfection.
- Three of my favourite markets in London – Spitalfields Market,Borough Market, and of course the famouse and unavoidable Portobello Market in Nottinghill – this Market is a must visit if you ask me – next to all the other amazing markets spread around in London, you guys, FOOD MARKETS are the best thing in the world.
- Black and Blue Pub at Borough Market. It is not one of the traditional ones, as it is a chain (most of them are by the way), but I love the typical “London” interior and the busy enviornment of Borough Market.
- An amazing Pub in Shoreditch, with a really nice garden, ambiance and excellent food is the Crown and Shuttles, which is close to Liverpool Street Station (everything in Shoreditch is close to that Station really). They always have a lot going on, from live football screenings, to pub-quizzes and live music, for everyone something. I end up in this pub nearly every night when I am in London.
- For the Indian food lovers out there – you just arrived in heaven.
London is famous for its delicious Indian food, my favorite place is Tamarind Kitchen Wardour Street, not far from Leicster Square Station – where I always get out from the tube to be able to walk up through China Town, past the Queen´s Theatre, up Wardour Street with its amazing stores and restaurants, different smells and noises, passing Hummingbird with its famous and delicious Red Velvet cake in the window (which is my favorite), ending up infront of the doors of “Indian food heaven”.
- This one is for you ladies: Joe & the Juice at Dean Street. I do not know what the hiring requirements are to work at this store, besides being able to use a blender and learning the receipes, but – every single guy (and there are just guys) looks like a model.
I am not kidding, they are incredibly handsome, friendly and charming. Maybe because its women who like healthy juices once in a while? Well, who cares.
Ladies, we don´t need Abercrombie & Fitch anymore to see hot guys….go and get a juice ladies, trust me, its worth it.
I could go on and on with amazing places in London, but the best would be make sure that you will visit it yourself.
Walk around and you will find so many hidden gems. From actual hidden gardens to amazingly decorated stores to wonderful parks .. the list is endless.
After nearly 2 years in London, I made the decision to come back to Vienna.
Not because I didn´t enjoy my time there, but I started to miss my family and my friends a lot and firgured this adventure should have its end.
If you want some more tips from me to get around in this wonderful city, don´t hesitate to write me in the comments, I will for sure answer all of your questions in my ability.
“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in its home” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe