A line uttered to me at a farmer’s wedding in what I’ll simply label here as ‘the before times’, and a line that seemed to sum up all of the misconceptions around what life in England’s capital, and largest, city is really like. When I pressed the stranger further about what they meant by that, they explained to me that it was just too crowded for them; that there simply wasn’t any space to just be with yourself and think. As a criticism of London, it’s clearly one based in some reality. London has a population of around nine million, and usually averages nearly 15,000 people per square mile. Its pulse was undoubtedly stilled by the pandemic but it’s still not a place you’d ever associate with being a spot of quiet contemplation.
那些只是将伦敦与杜莎夫人的蜡相关联的人，价格过高的品脱，长期运行的音乐剧和无尽的Pret A Mangers可能会惊讶地知道这座城市是超过800万棵树的家园。更重要的是，大约47％的大伦敦实际上被归类为“绿色”空间。It’s not the Amazon Rainforest by any stretch of the imagination, the Amazon is home to an estimated 390 billion individual trees, but it’s also not bad for a place often dismissed as a place of eccentric skyscrapers, tourist traps, and… err… Madame Tussauds.
In the same way that you’d find a new, and heightened, sense of appreciation for a renaissance painting if you were stuck in a room with it for an entire year, I’ve personally come to love London’s parks more than ever before over the last 365-and-a-bit days. The runs and walks through the city’s parks have been a lifeline for myself, and many other outdoor enthusiasts who live here, during the pandemic.