Subject: Re: Forever England
Hi Michael and Ziners:

I only visit England, mainly London, when I need a family and friend fix. Now that my son might be moving back there I will have to visit more often, something I do not want to do. I spent 11 years of my adult life in the mid 60s to mid 70' in London and swore I'd never, ever go back once I got home again. However I do go back sporadically to visit my ex husband (now my best friend), a few friends in London and a very close friend in Norfolk. It's also a convenient jumping off spot for visiting friends in Germany and Sweden. And things in London have changed for the better in most cases, except for the prices.

It's not that London is a bad place to visit, it has marvellous history and sites, but almost everything is way overpriced, the weather is awful, and it's too overcrowded. That was one of my biggest problems living there, the constant crowds and traffic and no way to avoid them. I missed the wild open spaces,the forest, the mountains, the ocean, the occasional bumping into wild animals when on a hike, and the space to be on my own. I developed serious claustrophobia in London.

The transportation system is okay, overpriced (but free for me) and prone to delays and breakdowns. But I guess that happens everywhere.

But I miss the English sense of humour, BBC World Service - I am an international news junkie and the international news reporting here (including CNN) is appalling, the good TV programmes(if TV can ever be described as good, but it's better than the pap dished out over here), and again, the wonderful English sense of humour.

I find Londoners are more reserved than in the rest of the country, but not cold. Once out of London the people are very friendly, in some cases going out of their way to be helpful (like an elderly gentleman in Eli who opened up his yard so my friend could park her car in his driveway and not get a ticket as the public car park was full). But in no way did anyone react as if speaking to them was tantamount to an assault. They're too polite!

Disappointing eating out in London, not that there aren't any good places but because those places are way out of my budget. I went on a Lasagna kick last year and in two months I never found one Lasagna that either resembled a Lasagna or was edible (what is that dreadful sauce they use in place of mozarella cheese?). And fish and chips are almost a thing of the past! Even my ex, who lives there, couldn't find a fish 'n chip shop anywhere in his neighbourhood or surrounding areas - I only managed to get a fix in Norfolk.

The beaches (the few I've seen) leave a lot to be desired. I'm not a fan of seasides like Southend or Blackpool, or the Isle of Wight even.

I need the wilderness meeting the ocean, not fun fairs and crowds.

Even though the UK in general is not high on my list of places to visit I don't think Rough Guides is being fair or doing it justice. It is an excellent country to visit, particularly if you're a history buff.

Nadine Vancouver, BC