I knew that London would have changed a lot since I lived here in 1987. Change is nothing new to a city like this, and yet I can’t help but marvel a little bit when told that a place like Westminster Cathedral underwent rennovations in the 13th century. I don’t think I’m the only American who tends to think something over 100 years old seems ancient.

When I was here as a college Junior with the AIFS program, I lived in one of their student flats in Kensington on Queensgate. As I looked for hotels to stay at for our vacation, I tried to book a room at the hotel I walked by on a daily basis. The doorman who stood out front grew to know me on my regular passings to the South Ken tube stop. At the time I lived here,I never ventured inside but told myself that I would ahould I have the money to visit again someday.

It turns out the Grovesner was unavailable not because it was fully booked but because it is closed for rennovation.

Sometime in the last twenty-plus years, the swanky looking place had fallen to the state where it required being closed and completely remodeled. Pressing my nose to the glass reveals freshly painted interior walls and a mess of a floor. Buildings up and down Queensgate are in various states of scaffolding.

As we took a tour of the city in one of those double decker open decked buses today, it was more than apparent that all of London is undergoing some major infrastructure and cosmetic upgrades. While some amount of upkeep and clean up is always necessary, this has more to do with the 2012 Olympics. Londoners are excited by the notion of hosting the games next summer, and it is as if the whole city is primping for a massively important first date.