It was a beautiful night. The sky was still blue but the moon was out, and the streets were getting darker. There were groups of people walking up and down Portobello Road and we could here people laughing and joking, standing outside the pubs as we walked home.
We walked slowly, it was a nice summer stroll, and Son and Daughter were goofing around – Son running into every single phonebooth along the way and Daughter telling funny stories – while Wife and I walked side by side, enjoying every moment.
I stopped a couple of times to take photos, then ran to catch up with the rest of the family.
“Hey Dad, if you could live anywhere in the world, except for Finland or Sweden, where would you live?” Daughter asked me all of a sudden.
I had earlier today told Son that I thought London was a pretty cool city, “almost cooler than New York,” I had said.
I don’t really know why.
Maybe it’s HMV on Oxford Street and the 10 000 points I got for jointing their club. And their fantastic selection fo records and DVDs, and T-shirts.
Maybe it’s Foyles and Waterstones and all the other great bookstores I can never pass without having at least a quick look at their offerings.
Maybe it’s British Museum and their mummies and Aztec masks, and the gorgeous entrance hall with the glass ceiling.
Maybe it’s Covent Garden and the street artists.
Maybe it’s Big Ben, because it’s a damn cool thing to see.
Maybe it’s how I can hear the people still talk and laugh at the sourdough pizza place in the corner, through the open window.
Maybe it’s the guys at the downstairs dry cleaner’s and how there’s always a couple of them, just standing around and talking there.
Maybe it’s the coffeeshop next to it.
Maybe it’s the Irish guy who raved about the water in a Hyde Park water fountain and then went on to tell us his life story, including his travels in Sweden as an 18-year-old. Maybe it’s how he said “hej då” when he left us there.
Maybe it’s the double deckers (because it’s probably not the overcrowded un-airconditioned Tube trains or how a one-bedroom apartment in downtown London costs more than our house in Stockholm).
Maybe it’s Hyde Park.
Maybe it’s the Queen, or the Buckingham Palace.
Or the pubs, or Soho, or the British Library or King’s Cross station or the Platform 9 3/4 there.
Maybe it’s the coffeeshops and small restaurants and fastfood chains you don’t much see elsewhere.
Maybe it’s the long history of the city and how you can feel it everywhere or maybe – just maybe – maybe it was that nice dinner at a Notting Hill pix restaurant, but whatever the reason, I told Daughter what I had told Son earlier.
“I think London would be pretty high up on my list. Probably number one,” I said.
“Interesting,” she replied. “Mine is Toronto.”