12 September 2010

England Vacation Part 17

September 12, 2010

London. What can I say about London that has not already been said?

We were greeted with a clear blue sky today - now, I'll probably jinx our weather, but we've had great weather this entire trip. Everyone said to pack an umbrella, but to be honest, we only needed it for maybe a half a day. I packed two pair of shorts thinking I might just get a chance to wear them one or two days, I've nearly worn them out.

We used London's public transit, bus 185, the loser cruiser. We've got cars, but there's not chance I'm driving downtown, not here. London's transit system, as you can imagine, is pretty tight and well run. It's inexpensive and clean. Our only other option is cabs, but it ain't cheap, not from Catford. Plus without having to exert every synapse between my ears to focus on the road, it's a nice break to actually see things other than 30 feet ahead.

We arrived at Victoria station and quickly bought a pass on the hop and go double decker tours - they worked well for us in New York. We started the tour and were off seeing the sights. The layout of the city is kind of mix and match, it's not the square city blocks we're used to, but it adds to the character of the city and makes it interesting with lots of neat things around every corner.

Big Ben was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be, as was Westminster Abbey. For some reason, I thought they would both be much bigger. The highlight of the trip was learning that the only traffic circle we found in the centre of the city is now called Chevy Chase Roundabout by the locals, which means it will be officially called that eventually. Hey look kids, there's Big Ben! I actually said that as we went around it.

London has great architecture, and I don't mean the old stuff. The new buildings all have character, unlike at home where few new structures are little more than a box with windows. The Gherkin is already a landmark... and there are so many more. They take pride in their city and I guess with so much history, want to leave their mark for years to come. I guess that's part of being world class, if you want to be world class you need to set an example, and that they do.

We are doing more site seeing tomorrow.

Ta! Ta!


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