If Paris is a pleasure inducing sight in the early hours of the morning, London (for me) is less overpowering but rather more enticing. The phrase ‘London is calling’ captures the feeling of seeing London take shape and come to life in the early hours of the morning:
I often take a morning run or walk along the Thames in the early hours of the morning, through Westminster toward Whitehall and across one of the bridges and back toward London eye toward London Bridge/Southwark Cathedral where I usually set up camp in London.
What the unfolding cityscape evokes for me is a sense of desire – in the sense of wanting, hoping for, being motivated, and to some degree being driven, too.
While the excesses associated with these districts of London are questionable – i.e.the excesses of capitalist expansion, greed, self-interest, elitist politics etc… – there is a potentially positive way to interpret and ‘feel’ London’s cityscape.
I find it as a space that communicates the passion, drive, desire and motivation of the many people that begin to fill up London much sooner than they do in Paris. It is more likely to run into early morning walk-takers and joggers in London than in Paris (or at any time of the day actually).
While motivation is perhaps best found from ‘the inside, from one’s own internal resources, it cannot be harmful having a city or landscape that inspires a disposition of drive and desire for what you do in life! (It could very much also be endless rural fields of green).
London’s cityscape, particularly captured in the morning, pushes me toward staying motivated – and that is a 238th reason to be grateful for the graduate student experience offered by London and Paris!