IF you’ve saved this article for your long-planned trip to London, and you’re now reading it for the third time, circling Heathrow, well, I’m sorry. You’re probably still up there because the queue at passport control has become mutinous. They’re snaking out onto the runways — grim, silently furious visitors, unable to use their phones, forbidden from showing anything but abject acquiescence to the blunt instrument that is the immigration officer at the distant desk.
I always feel bad about the queues at Heathrow as I walk to the coming home rather than the going abroad line. And as you stand there, for hours, looking at the two groups — the indigenous and the visitors — you’ll notice something. It’s a good thing. A heartwarming, little consolation thing. They look exactly the same. There is no difference between you and us, not in color, ethnicity, dress or demeanor. Those who live in London and those who visit are exactly the same.
In half my lifetime this city has become a homogenous, integrated, international place of choice rather than birth. Not without grit and friction, but amazingly polyglot and variegated. I travel a lot, and this must be the most successful mongrel casserole anywhere.
Every national team that comes to compete will find a welcoming committee from their homes. London is the sixth largest French city in the world. The Wolseley, the cafe where I often eat, and where I wrote a book about breakfast, has 24 nationalities working in it, from every continent bar the Antarctic. They’re also all Londoners. And that’s a good thing. Although I understand that, as a visitor, it’s not necessarily what you want to come and see — this department store of imported humanity. You want stiff-lipped men in bowler hats and cheeky cockneys with their thumbs in their waistcoats and fish on their heads.
I’m sorry, but they’re not here anymore. No city’s exported image lags so far behind its homegrown veracity than London’s, so let’s start with what you’re not going to find. We’re all out of cheeky cockneys, pearly kings and their queens, and costermongers. You’re not going to find ’60s psychedelia and the Beatles in Carnaby Street. There aren’t any punks under 50 on the King’s Road; there are no more tweedy, mustachioed, closeted gay writers in Bloomsbury, no Harry Potter at King’s Cross. There aren’t men in white tie, smoking cigars outside Pall Mall clubs and there isn’t any fog, but you can find Sherlock Holmes’s house on Baker Street.
A lot of London’s image never was. There never was a Dickensian London, or a Shakespearean London, or a swinging London. Literary London is best looked for in books, and in old bookshops like Sotheran’s on Sackville Street. One of the small joys that’s easy to miss in London is the blue plaques on buildings. These are put up to commemorate the famous on the houses they lived in. You won’t have heard of a lot of them, but some come as a surprise. There are quite a few Americans and some amusing neighbors. Jimi Hendrix lived next door to Handel, in space if not in time.
有很多“伦敦形象”是从未存在过的。从来没有“狄更斯式的伦敦”，没有“莎士比亚式的伦敦”，也没有“摇摆伦敦”(swinging London,20世纪60年代的英伦文化——译注）。“文学伦敦”(Literary Lodon)最容易从书中找到，在萨克维尔街(Sackville Street)上的一些旧书店就可以感受到，比如索德兰(Sotheran’s)书店。也有一些容易错过的小乐趣，建筑物上的蓝色徽章就是其一。这些徽章是为了纪念名人曾经住过的房子。很多名人也许你没听过，但有一些着实会让你惊喜。那里有不少美国人，还有一些有趣的邻里关系。吉米·亨德里克斯(Jimi Hendrix)就住在亨德尔(Handel)家隔壁，在不同的年代，二人在同一空间产生了交集。
London is a city of ghosts; you feel them here. Not just of people, but eras. The ghost of empire, or the blitz, the plague, the smoky ghost of the Great Fire that gave us Christopher Wren’s churches and ushered in the Georgian city. London can see the dead, and hugs them close. If New York is a wise guy, Paris a coquette, Rome a gigolo and Berlin a wicked uncle, then London is an old lady who mutters and has the second sight. She is slightly deaf, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Trying to be a tourist at home is tricky. It’s a good discipline, and rather disappointing. I know as little as you do about being a visitor in this town where I have lived since I was a year old, having been born in Edinburgh. We all look at the crowds of tourists on the Mall and think: What is it you see? What do you get out of this? Like every Londoner I know, I’ve never seen the changing of the guard. It’s an inconvenient traffic snarl-up every weekday morning.
With more guilt, I realize that London may be a great metropolis, but it’s not very nice to people. We’re not friendly. Not that we’re rude, like the Parisians with their theatrical and frankly risible haughtiness; nor do we have New Yorkers’ shouty impatience. Londoners are just permanently petulant, irritated. I think we wake up taking offense. All those English teacup manners, the exaggerated please and thank yous, are really the muzzle we put on our short tempers. There are, for instance, a dozen inflections of the word sorry. Only one of them means “I’m sorry.”
So what you shouldn’t expect is to get on with the natives, or for them to take you to their bosoms, or to invite you to their homes, or to buy you a drink. They may, occasionally, if backed against a wall, be rudimentarily helpful, but mostly they’ll ignore you with the huffing sighs of people in a hurry. When you get lost, you’ll stay lost.
We have, collectively, osmotically, decided that we hate the Olympics. It’s costing too much, it’s causing an enormous amount of trouble and inconvenience, it’s bound to put up prices, make it impossible to find a taxi, but most of all, one thing this city doesn’t need is more gawping, milling, incontinently happy tourists.
On the bus recently a middle-aged, middle-class, middleweight woman peered out of the window at the stalled traffic and furiously bellowed; “Oh my God, is there no end to these improvements?” It was the authentic voice of London, and I thought it could be the city’s motto, uttered at any point in its history, embroidered in gold braid on the uniforms of every petty official.
I recently interviewed our mayor, Boris Johnson. He may be the ex-mayor by the time you land. We have an election coming up. We hate the imposition of that, as well, and all the possible improvements it might bring. I told him I was writing this piece, and asked what message he’d like to send, fraternally, to the people of America, should they be optimistic enough to visit. “Ah, ooh, well, this is very important,” he said with a faintly Churchillian inflection. (He was actually born in New York.) “Um, visitors should hire a bike and ride through the parks.” The vehicles are sometimes referred to as Boris bikes after him, and have been an unexpectedly wobbly and careening success — easy to get, easy to use and a really easy way to end up seeing how brilliant the National Health Service is.
我最近采访了我们的市长鲍里斯·约翰逊(Boris Johnson)。也许你来到这里的时候他已经是“前市长”了。我们很快就要进行选举了，我们同样讨厌这种强加于人的制度，以及所有可能由此带来的改造工程。我告诉他我正在写这个选题，并问他，如果让美国人乐于到访，有哪些信息是他希望以兄弟般的口吻向他们传达的。“嗯，哦，这点非常重要，”他以一种微弱的、丘吉尔式的语调说道：（其实他出生在纽约。）“嗯，游客可以租一辆自行车游览公园。”伦敦的交通工具有时是指 “鲍里斯自行车”（以他的名字命名的一项自行车计划），这项计划出人意料地在跌跌撞撞中获得了成功——租车方便，简单易用，并且能够真切感受到英国国民保健制度的优越性。
The parks, though, are wonderful, with a wildness that is artifice. Like the English, they appear casual, but involve a great deal of work. Go to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, where Peter Pan comes from. You should see his statue on the banks of the Serpentine. One of the most charming sculptures in any city, it was made by Sir George Frampton, paid for by J. M. Barrie and erected in secret overnight so that children out with their nannies would think it had arrived by magic.
伦敦的公园的确很棒，有很多人工雕琢的景观。就像英国人，虽然表面看起来很随意，但其实添加了大量的修饰。去海德公园和彼得·潘的故乡肯辛顿花园(Kensington Gardens)看看，你可以在九曲湖（Serpentine,也作“蛇形湖”）畔看到彼得·潘的雕像。这是最具魅力的城市雕像之一，由乔治·弗兰普顿爵士(Sir George Frampton)创作，J. M. 巴里(J. M. Barrie)资助，是趁着夜色悄悄矗立起来的，所以第二天被保姆带出门的孩子们还以为是魔法显灵了。
London is one of the finest cities for public statuary. The great and the eternally forgotten glare down at you from horses and morality. When you get to Trafalgar Square, as undoubtedly you will, you’ll look up at Nelson’s Column, where Adm. Horatio Nelson peers down the Mall, either into the bedroom windows of Buckingham Palace, or to review his fleet; there are small ships on top of all the lampposts.
伦敦是世界上最出色的公共雕塑城市之一。到处都是马和伟人向你投来伟大的其实已被历史遗忘的目光。当你去特拉法加广场(Trafalgar Square)时，毫无疑问你会仰望纳尔逊纪念碑(Nelson’s Column)，海军上将霍雷肖·纳尔逊(Adm. Horatio Nelson)从那里向下凝视，要么是望向白金汉宫(Buckingham Palace)的卧室窗户，要么是巡视他的舰队，那里每一根路灯柱顶上都铸有一艘小船。
You might also like to pay your respects to George Washington outside the nearby National Gallery to pay your penance to fine art. He was a gift from Virginia, and stands on imported American earth because he said that he’d never set foot in London again. And don’t miss Charles I on the west side of the square. This is the finest equestrian statue in the city. Just down the road in the Banqueting House, you can see where his head was cut off, and also the brilliant Rubens painting of the Apotheosis of James I.
你或许也想去附近的国家美术馆(National Gallery)外膜拜一下乔治·华盛顿(George Washington)，对高雅艺术支付你的忏悔。这尊雕像是弗吉尼亚州赠送的礼物，他就站在那块美国制造的“领土”上，因为他说过他再也不会踏足伦敦的土地。也不要错过广场西侧的查尔斯一世(Charles I)雕像。这是伦敦最精美的骑马雕像。沿路一直走到国宴厅(Banqueting House)，你可以看到当时他被斩首的地方，还有鲁本斯(Rubens)的绝世画作《尊奉詹姆斯一世》( Apotheosis of James I)。
The Thames is London’s great secret, hidden in full view. We do very little with it, or on it, except complain how difficult it is to get over and under. It is the reason London is here at all, but the people stand aloof because we have long memories and longer noses. The Thames was so disgustingly noxious and pestilent that Parliament would abandon the Palace of Westminster when the weather got too hot in the summer, because the smell became dangerous.
London was the biggest city in the world, and the river was the biggest sewer on earth. The Victorians finally built an underground sewerage system that was so efficient we still use it. But they also made the Embankment, which lifts the city above the river. Getting access isn’t easy, but if you only do one thing while you’re here, you should take a boat from the center of town and go either downstream to the maritime museum at Greenwich or up toward Oxford and get off at Kew Gardens and Syon House.
伦敦曾是全世界最大的城市，而泰晤士河又曾是地球上最大的污水河。到维多利亚时代终于建造了一个高效的地下排水系统，我们沿用至今。但是当时也建造了河堤，把整个城市提升到了河流之上。亲近这条河并非易事，但是如果你在这里只做一件事，那么你应该从市中心搭船，要么去下游的格林威治的海事博物馆(maritime museum)，要么往上游的牛津方向走，在皇家植物园(Kew Gardens)和赛昂宫(Syon House)下船。
The river is the best way to see the city. London glides past you like human geology. It is not a particularly impressive city seen from above; not like Paris or New York, although you can go up to Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath and look back, and it has a dreamy loveliness brought on by distance. And Wordsworth said that earth had nothing so fair to show as the view of the morning from Westminster Bridge. Two hundred years later he wouldn’t recognize it, but it’s still pretty impressive.
河流往往是观赏一座城市的最佳方式。伦敦就像人类地质学一般在你的两侧展开。伦敦不是一个适合从高处观全景的城市；不像巴黎或纽约那样，虽然你也可以爬到樱草花山(Primrose Hill)上或者去汉普特斯西斯公园(Hampstead Heath)回望，享受一步一风景带来的梦幻般的美妙。华兹华斯说过，地球上没有一处景色能够与威斯敏斯特大桥上的清晨美景相媲美。200年后的今天，风景已大不相同，但仍令人难以忘怀。
The great problem for visitors to London is size. This is a big place. It’s not a walkable city; there are great walks but you can’t stride from everywhere to anywhere. And it’s easy to lose any sense of where you are in relation to everything else. So it’s best to do what the natives do, and think of London as a loose federation of villages, states and principalities, and take them in one at a time. The oldest bits are in the east. The Tower of London and the Roman Wall mark the beginning of the city. To the east are the docks and the working classes, and what is now the trendiest and most youthful, fashionable bit of London. As the city grew rich, it grew west. Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington, Notting Hill are mostly Victorian.
You will do all the big-ticket tourist things. I doubt there’s anything I can say that will convince you that the best way to see Tower Bridge is on a postcard, and that the Tower of London is a big, dull box packed with Italian schoolchildren, or that Harrods is much the same. But while the living Londoners are to be avoided, the dead ones should be sought out. St. Paul’s Cathedral is London’s parish church, the single greatest building in Britain, designed by Christopher Wren. It’s light, civilized, rational and humane — everything Londoners aren’t. It has monuments to J. M. W. Turner, the Duke of Wellington and, of course, John Donne, who preached there. Behind the altar is a little memorial chapel and stained-glass window dedicated to America and the help it gave London and the nation in World War II.
我知道你肯定要当个被宰的游客。我不知道怎么才能说服你——观赏塔桥(Tower Bridge)的最佳方式是买张明信片。伦敦塔(Tower of London)是一个巨大又沉闷的盒子，里面都是意大利的小学生。其实哈罗兹百货公司(Harrods)也差不多。虽然最好避开伦敦人多的地方，但可以去凭吊一些已逝的人。圣保罗大教堂(St. Paul’s Cathedral )是伦敦的教区教堂，也是英国规模最大的教堂，由克里斯托弗·雷恩(Christopher Wren)设计。它简洁、文明、理性、仁慈——有着所有伦敦人不具备的品格。那里有J. M. W. 特纳(J. M. W. Turner)、威灵顿公爵(Duke of Wellington)以及约翰·多恩(John Donne)的纪念碑，约翰·多恩还曾在这里布道。在祭坛后面是一个小的纪念教堂和彩色玻璃窗，用于纪念美国在二战中为伦敦和英国所提供的援助。
Westminster Abbey is the great church of state. It has the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, the Coronation Chair, which is surprisingly Ikea and covered in graffiti from Westminster schoolboys, and there is Poets’ Corner, the marbled hall of fame of Britishness. Just down the street from St. Paul’s there is another Wren church, St. Bride’s, by tradition and practice the journalists’ church. Dryden and Pepys were parishioners. Above the font there is a little shelf, and on it the bust of a girl. She is Virginia Dare. Her parents were married here and then emigrated to the Roanoke Colony. On Aug. 18, 1587, Virginia arrived, the first child of English parents to be born in America. No one knows what happened to her, but this is an immensely touching little memorial in the Old World to the promise of the New. Not one Londoner in 1,000 knows who Virginia was, or that she’s there.
西敏寺(Westminster Abbey)是英国的一座大教堂（威斯敏斯特教堂）。那里有无名战士纪念碑(Grave of the Unknown Warrior)、爱德华一世加冕宝座，风格令人惊异得与宜家(Ikea)接近，上面还布满了威斯敏斯特小学生的涂鸦；还有诗人角(Poets’ Corner)——安葬着英国文豪们的大理石大厅。沿着圣保罗大教堂(St. Paul’s)往下走，会看到另一个雷恩设计的教堂——圣布里奇教堂(St. Bride’s)，从传统和实践上来说，它也被称为“记者教堂”。德莱顿(Dryden)和佩皮斯(Pepys)曾是教区居民。前面上方是一个小架子，放着一个女孩的半身像。她叫维吉尼亚·戴尔 (Virginia Dare)。她的父母在这里结婚，之后迁移到罗纳克岛殖民地。1587年8月18日，维吉尼亚出生了，她是第一个由英国父母在美国生下的孩子。没有人知道她遭遇了什么，但这个旧时代的感人的小雕像象征着对新时代的许诺。1000个伦敦人里，也不会有一个人知道维吉尼亚是谁，或者她的雕像就放在那儿。
There are thousands of these odd moments in London. You will discover your own, like the alley that has the original Embassy of Texas in it. It’s like opening the drawers in an old house, where so much was put away for safekeeping and then forgotten.
Of course, you should go to the pub. Like the bistros of Paris, the pubs of London are having a hard time of it. Their role as the working classes’ living room can no longer compete with cable TV and supermarket beer. But still there are plenty of beautiful and elegiac pubs, and you should come upon them serendipitously. But I might commend the Mayflower on the river in the East End. This is older than the ship that shares its name, which set off from here. And the Windsor Castle in Kensington is a pretty West London pub. If the weather is fine, it has a charming garden.
I suppose I ought to recommend places to eat, as London has such a Babel of palates and lexicon of digestions. It boasts the most diverse cuisines of any city. But given that you didn’t come all this way just to eat Chinese or Moroccan, you can also get good English. It will be meaty and Victorian, long on pork and the extremities of cows, pigs and offal. Three I recommend. Anchor & Hope near the Old Vic theater on the Cut, has great food in an energetically noisy pub. Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill off Piccadilly, and St. John, a restaurant that has become a point of pilgrimage for visiting chefs. And you really should eat Indian here. Curry is England’s favorite dinner, and our national dish.
我觉得我应该推荐一些餐厅，因为伦敦也是美食的集中地与餐饮大百科全书，自称拥有比任何一个城市更丰富的美食。但是既然你千里迢迢不仅仅是为了来吃中国菜或摩洛哥菜，你还可以尝到很棒的英国菜。英式菜肴以肉为主，兼具维多利亚风格，擅长烹调猪肉、牛腿肉、猪腿以及下水。我推荐三家餐厅：在老维克剧院(Old Vic theater)附近的Anchor & Hope，它在卡特街（The Cut），有很棒的食物和活力四射的酒吧；背对皮卡迪利大街(Piccadilly)的Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill；还有St. John，这家餐厅已经成为了厨师游客的朝圣地。你真应该尝试一下那里的印度菜。咖喱是英格兰人最喜欢的晚餐，也算是我们的“国菜”。
Plenty of people come to shop, but it’s expensive, and Bond Street and Sloane Street are pretty much what you’d find at home. It won’t have escaped your notice that the avaricious first world has become a branded and cloned airport lounge.
有很多人会去购物，但是东西都太贵了。邦德街(Bond Street)和斯隆街(Sloane Street)上的大部分东西在你的国家也能找到。你不难发现，贪婪的“第一世界”国家早已经变成了充斥各种品牌、与其他国家并无二致的机场休息室。
One thing that is singularly British, and specifically London, is men’s tailoring. This is where the suit was invented, and where it is still made better than anywhere. Savile Row is a very London experience, satisfyingly and shockingly costly, but also dangerously addictive. I’d recommend Brian Russell on Sackville Street, which is now run by Fadia Aoun, a rare female tailor.
不过有一样英国独有的特色，尤其是在伦敦，就是男装定制。这里可以制作西装，而且仍然比世界上任何一个地方做得都要好。来萨维尔街(Savile Row)逛上一圈，是非常典型的伦敦体验。令人满足又惊人地昂贵，但又具有危险的诱惑力。我推荐萨克维尔街的Brian Russell，这是一家很少见的由女裁缝经营的店，店主叫法迪亚·奥恩(Fadia Aoun)。
You need to see London at night, particularly the theaters. But not just the night life. London itself looks best in the dark. It’s a pretty safe city, and you can walk in most places after sunset. It has a sedate and ghostly beauty. In the crepuscular kindness, you can see not just how she is, but how she once was, the layers of lives that have been lived here. Somebody with nothing better to do worked out that for every one of us living today, there are 15 ghosts. In most places you don’t notice them, but in London you do. The dead and the fictional ghosts of Sherlock Holmes and Falstaff, Oliver Twist, Wendy and the Lost Boys, all the kindly, garrulous ghosts that accompany you in the night. The river runs like dark silk through the heart of the city, and the bridges dance with light. There are corners of silence in the revelry of the West End and Soho, and in the inky shadows foxes and owls patrol Hyde Park, which is still illuminated by gaslight.
你还要看看伦敦的夜景，尤其是剧院的夜景，而不仅仅是享受夜生活。伦敦的夜晚比白天更美。这是一座很安全的城市，在日落后，你可以步行到大部分的地方。这里有一种沉静的、鬼魅般的美丽。在柔和的微光下，你不仅能看清她当下的样貌，还有她的曾经——过往生活的每一个层面。一些人的存在意义，似乎是专为活在今天的我们做出一些事情。这里飘荡着至少15个幽灵。在大多数地方，你不会注意到他们，但是在伦敦，你会感受得到。比如夏洛克·福尔摩斯(Sherlock Holmes)和福斯塔夫(Falstaff，出自莎士比亚同名喜剧——译注)、奥利弗·特维斯特(Oliver Twist，出自《雾都孤儿》——译注)、温蒂和遗失的男孩们(Wendy and the Lost Boys，出自《彼得·潘与温蒂》)的虚构的灵魂——所有这些在夜晚陪伴你的，善意的、唠叨的幽灵。泰晤士河像一条深色的丝带，穿流过伦敦的中心地带，塔桥在灯光下起舞。狂欢的西区和苏豪区也有寂静的角落；夜色中，狐狸和猫头鹰借着煤气灯的微光，结伴在海德公园漫步。
Now the Olympics has come and dragged us all into the bright light, and a lot of attention is being given to London, and we’re not used to it. We’re not good at showing off. We’re not a good time to be had by all, we’re not an easy date. London isn’t a party animal by nature, it doesn’t join in or have a favorite karaoke song. It does, though, have a wicked, dry and often cruel sense of humor. It is clever, literate and dramatic. It is private and taciturn, a bit of a bore, and surprisingly sentimental. And it doesn’t make friends quickly, is awkward around visitors. We will be pleased when all the fuss and nosiness has gone away.
So come, by all means, but don’t expect the kindness of strangers unless you decide to stay, in which case you’ll be very welcome indeed. There’s always room for one more on top, which is what they used to say on the buses when the buses had conductors, which they don’t anymore. And that’s another bloody improvement.