Just like the city itself, public transport is a network of endless possibilities, reinventions, and reconfigurations. It’s far-reaching, multicolored sprawl reduces London to a series of villages hanging loosely together around constellations of train stations and bus stops.
A short tube ride is all that separates the very English pubs tucked away in leafy Hampstead suburbs and the über-cool bars and trendy boutiques of Shoreditch.
The sleek glass and steel skyscrapers gracing Docklands, the curry houses lining Brick Lane and the expensive bohemian chic of Notting Hill may seem worlds apart but are united by a quick trip on a city bus.
This all makes getting to know London (or more precisely, getting to know your London) a very tricky business. Fleeting visitors, who stroll around Buckingham Palace, gawp at the gothic monstrosity of the Houses of Parliament and brave the queues at Madame Tussauds are not even scratching the surface.
Acquainting yourself with this city, to the point where you feel comfortable in its skin (not to mention sharing that skin with eight million other people) takes patience, persistence and a good dose of sheer bloody-mindedness. Ten years of living in London has taught me that it will kick you in the teeth more often than pat you on the back. But by God, it has a lot to offer.