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The best city in the world

A quick thought on why London, for me, is the best city in the world.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but it took going back to Reading to sit down and write it; albeit differently to how I’d first thought.

I was born and raised in suburban North London. I had, and still have a compass postcode.

I am a Londoner.

London is the best city in the world.

That Great British sunshine has done its best to poke through a few times over the last fortnight or so, allowing me to break my daily routine and walk home.

I work in Shoreditch, and I live near Surrey Quays; they’re connected by a fantastically-handy (and suspiciously frequent) train service that takes a speedy fourteen minutes to ferry me from A to B. Why then would I choose to take an hour long stroll to achieve the same goal? The sunshine is pretty good, but it’s biggest draw is the opportunity for disconnect.

Ain’t she a beauty? #london #thames #towerbridge #nofilter

A photo posted by Rob Sterlini (@robsterlini) on

For that hour, I can take my headphones out, set my phone to do not disturb and be alone – with six odd million other Londoners – in my thoughts. That may just be me thinking about who Pochettino ought to include this Saturday, or how far tomorrow’s run will be; but in reality I can do that anywhere.

What London is particularly great for is stimulating memories.

Walking along the South Bank, past Festival Pier prompts the memories of ill-fitting prom tuxedo (and an even worse Barnet).

I remember the first time I saw the MI6 building in person, having been transfixed by the opening sequence in The World is not Enough.

Saying goodbye to two of my grandparents at the Italian church on Clarkenwell Road…

Starting a new job just a few doors down at Fueled, then in Hatton Garden…

Visiting a tiny cafe in Islington before going to the USA Australia basketball game at the 2012 Olympics…

That time I did that…

Or that…

There are literally hundreds of memories that I associate with my great city. Sure, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Boston, New York City, Milano, Barcelona; and – don’t get me wrong – they’re all great.

But they’re not London.

I thought London was the best city there is. Full stop. No arguments.

But I was wrong. Whilst visiting Reading for an evening of design talks, I realised that, that small chunk of Berkshire was close to being as great as London. That’s when it dawned on me that it wasn’t the city itself, but the associated events and mental keepsakes that I’ve got; because let’s be frank… Reading certainly is not Florence.

My London is the best city for me.

What if I travel in the future? What if I find somewhere that feels more me than London does? Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll find out. Until then I look forward to adding memories of a triathlon, a half-marathon and more to my list of why London is bloody brilliant.

London is the best city in the world.

That other city? The one you were born in, or were raised in, or moved to, or just heart the hell out of. Yeah that’s probably the best city as well.

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