London in 1969

Piccadilly Circus, London, 1969.

Tower Bridge, London, 1969.

These are postcards I purchased after I arrived in London in November 1969.  I had flown in from Thailand, and spent two weeks in that wonderful city, where the 2012 Summer Olympics are currently being held.  I was so happy to be there!  It was one of the peak experiences of my life.

With the help of a travel guide book, titled, Europe on $5 a Day, I managed to find a cheap room in a student hostel.  After the oppressive heat and humidity of Bangkok, I relished the cool weather in England.  The fog reminded me of San Francisco.  I bought my first winter coat and gloves, and I remember being advised by the sales clerk to learn the names of the English currency, when I handed her a bunch of coins and bills.  I trusted her honesty as she picked out the requisite money as payment.

I liked the elegant hats that women wore everywhere, even on the street and in the subway.  It was uniquely English.  I didn’t notice those hats anywhere else in Europe back then.

There was so much to see in London – Buckingham Palace, the National Museum, Westminster Abbey, the Tower, etc.  All of this made the history lectures in college come alive.  For example, I could picture Anne Boleyn being beheaded at the Tower.  Besides these popular tourist attractions, there was opera.  I was starved for Puccini.  But although I was happy to hear his Madama Butterfly sung in English, I thought it would have sounded more melodious sung in Italian.

In 1969, there were relatively few Korean-American women my age in Europe.  People stared at me wherever I went.  One day, a young Englishman stopped me and asked, “Are you from Hong Kong?”

“No, I’m not,” I replied.  Those three words said it all.

“Oh, you have a cute little American accent,” he said, smiling.

I imagine London is more cosmopolitan now.

13 Responses to “London in 1969”

  1. R.Ramakrishnan Says:

    Nice you have treasured these fantastic cards so long. What a great trip down the memory lane.

  2. Christine Says:

    1969 is such a long time ago! It may be time to revisit Gigi, for sure it has changed a lot!

  3. Jeanie Says:

    I also love London, Gigi. I’m sure it has changed since 1969 and that you would still love it if you get a chance to go back.

  4. grannymar Says:

    Enjoy memory lane.

  5. Beatrice Says:

    Yes, London is wonderful!!!
    Since I was 12 untill I was 18 I spent every Spring in England, to attend school, helping out in shops, go shopping and visit places of interest. It is 10 years ago since my last visit when I had organized an exhibition.
    My youngest stepdaughter studies since over 3 years in London now.
    Greetings from Europe
    Beatrice

  6. SchmidleysScribbling Says:

    You were there after my sister left. She lived in England for several years, as did my oldest son. I have managed to visit many times, and I always pass through London. Love England very much.

  7. anonymous Says:

    Never been to Europe….I know I must be missing a lot. One day when we are retired maybe we’ll find the energy to visit.

    L. from W.

  8. Kay's Musings Says:

    We went with the kids in 1990 and it was quite cosmopolitan then. Very few people stared and we had a fantastic time. I really would like to go back again someday.

  9. Arkansas Patti Says:

    Lucky you to have visited a place high on my bucket list. I love the English accent and it is nice that they think ours is cute.

  10. Aguileon Says:

    pretty old but it’s beautiful

  11. joared Says:

    Nice memories and like your card photos. My dtr and granddtr have excitedly looked forward to watching Olympics TV coverage to refresh their memories of a trip they took there years ago.

  12. Tilly Bud - The Laughing Housewife Says:

    Hugely cosmopolitan now!

    Love this trip down memory lane.

  13. LC Says:

    Visiting London and other locales of the British isles is still yet to be checked off of my “I-want-to-do” list. I do believe your last observation is correct. London is evidently not so “British” now.

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