I remember when I first moved to London three and a half years ago, I used to walk across Tower Bridge and be awestruck by the Bridge itself - the Tower of London and the thousands of years of history that surround that entire part of the "Pool of London". And yet when that walk became part of my daily commute, it seemed to lose its awe along the way.
The same thing happening when I lived in Sydney and drove across the Harbour Bridge every day - a landmark that people from all over the world dream about seeing and walking over, yet somewhat of a chore when you're stuck in a bus on your way to work.
And now, as I'm getting closer to my move back to Australia, I'm hanging out to do a lap of the Harbour Bridge. And I know that I'll fall in love with Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Australia all over again as I familiarise myself with my favourite places and discover new ones.
Similarly, yesterday, I jumped on a big red bus and spent a day being a tourist in London. Again.
My first visit to London was with my family in about 1980 and I remember staying in a hotel in Russell Square. I don't remember too much other than the big res buses, black cabs and seeing Changing of the Guard. I then came back in 1999 by myself before setting off for a 3-week Contiki tour around Europe.
When I arrived in London that second time nine years ago, jet-lagged and bleary eyed, I remember feeling instantly that I could live in this city. I loved the buzz and the familiarity, yet difference of it all. London somehow felt like "home" even then.
My bus ride yesterday took me past a bunch of the landmarks and attractions that I've seen a stack of times in the last few years, and that perhaps I'd become a bit blase about. But I'm glad I did it. It reminded me of the many things I love about London, the amazing friends I've made here and the wonderful times I've had.
It's been a pleasure and privilege to call this place home.
The spires of St Pauls.
View from South Bank.
For more pics of my big tourist day around London, check out this album.