When we’re not tutting at them on escalators, being shoved in the face by their backpacks on the tube or sighing as they hog the pavement during lunch hour when we really need to rush to Marks and Spencer, we sometimes feel sorry for tourists. The tube is bewildering, tourist traps are dirty and expensive and us locals are all a bunch of unhelpful, miserable bastards: official.
Seems the lot of the London tourist was ever thus. A new translation of one Spanish visitor’s letters home 400 years ago presents a veritable litany of whinges about London hospitality. Consider some of Luisa De Carvajal’s observations:
- Food: “looks good, but has no smell and almost no taste and is not very nourishing” – Aberdeen Angus Steak House – check
On a more positive note and to put it in context, De Carvajal was a Catholic crusader in a hostile Jacobean England where she was converting folk and kept winding up in prison. The woman’s main aim in life was to be a martyr so we could take heart that her griping was less to do with our sprawling, beloved beast of a city than her own miserable life.
Image courtesy of markhillary via the Londonist Flickrpool.