The British capital is more eclectic and electric than it's been in years. There's almost a feeding（渐渐增强的）frenzy（狂热）setting out to prove that London is the most pulsating （搏动的；悸动的）， vibrant （充满生气的）city on the planet， even rivaling New York for sheer energy， outrageous art， trendy restaurants， and a nightlife equal to none（无与伦比的）。 Newsweek hailed London as a “hip （时髦，时尚）compromise between the nonstop newness of Los Angeles and the aspic-preserved （这里指固定的，不变的）beauty of Paris——sharpened to New York's edge.” Wine Spectator proclaims more modestly that “The sun is shining brighter in London these days.”
Experimental theater is taking over stages that were built for Shakespeare's plays； and upstart（暴富的）chefs are reinventing the bland dishes British mums made for generations into a new and inventive cuisine； for the first time ever， Brits （英国人）are even running the couture houses （高级服装店）of Dior and Givenchy. In food， fashion， film， pop music， the visual arts， and just about everything else， London stands at the cutting edge again， just as it did in the 1960s.
However traditional London still lives， basically intact（原封不动的；未受损伤的）。 From high tea at Brown's to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace， the city abounds with the culture and charm of days gone by.
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren， St. Paul's Cathedral is the symbolic heart of London.
Discovering London and making it your own can be a bit of a challenge， especially if you have just a little time. Even in the 18th century， Daniel Defoe found London “stretched out in buildings， straggling（蔓延）， confused， out of all shape； neither long nor broad， round nor square.” The City of London proper （真正的伦敦城） is merely one square mile of very expensive real estate around the Bank of England. All the gargantuan rest of the city is made up of separate villages， boroughs（自治市镇）， and corporations（市政府）——Westminster， Chelsea， Hampstead， Kensington， and many more——each with its own mayor and administration ready to fight for its independent status. Together， however， they add up to a mammoth metropolis， once the largest on the globe.
Luckily， whether you're looking for Dickens' house or the Dr. Marten's Superstore， only a minute fraction of London's huge territory need concern you. The heart of this behemoth（原意是巨兽）is one of the most fascinating areas on earth， and for about a century， one-quarter of the world was ruled from central London. With almost every step you take， you'll come across signs of the tremendous influence this city has exerted over our past， both in thought and action.
London is a mass of contradictions. On the one hand， it's a decidedly royal city， studded （点缀）with palaces and court gardens. Yet it's also the home of the world's second-oldest parliamentary democracy （Iceland was the first）。