Tuesday, July 7, 2015

IBI Update: London, England

London, England

"Cheers" - Immigration Officer 

As we arrived in England (by boat!), I realized I knew relatively less about the city of London as compared to many. I knew that London had Big Ben, red things such as double-decker buses & coated guards & phone booths, and was home to driving on the wrong side of the street. Let's make a deal: USA switches to the metric system and England and all their "colonies" drive on the right side of the road. Everyone will be happier. 

All that said, I felt at home in London. It's amazing what a common language and wide acceptance of credit cards does to make one feel comfortable. Our residence also had solid wi-fi, a factor I'm ashamed to say adds to my sense of belonging. 

We had two free days in London and we hit it hard. It was hot to the extreme and, excluding many of their museums, everything is expensive, including the Underground. 

We walked FOUR SWELTERING MILES to a grouping of museums our first day, stopping to wait in line for discounted theater tickers (to find out our desired show - The Curious Incident... - was sold out), a view of Buckingham Palace, and a cool walk through Harrod's. We visited the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Naturual History Museum, and the Science Museum. By reaching the Science Museum we didn't especially care about science. That said, the museums were free and two of the three were air conditioned well. We took the Underground ($6-ish!!) closer to our residence, grabbed some fish and chips (at least I did), and did the Eye. It is now owned by Coca-Cola and feels like a London themed version of Atlanta's Coke Museum. Not really but sorta.

Day two consisted of laundry in the morning. We visited the Tate Modern Museum while we dried our clothes - not something I get to say very often. This was my favorite museum of our travels so far, we got to use real washer/dryers, and I also got my haircut. It was a productive morning. The rest of the day included a walk by Big Ben then an overpriced visit to Westminster Abbey, home of many dead royalty and famous British people. We took the tube closer to the London Tower Bridge (though not close enough; why would you name the bridge next to the London Tower Bridge the The London Bridge?) and walked to and across it before we headed back to our residence on the South Bank of the Thames. 

All in all, a full and good visit to London and, perhaps in another life, I wouldn't mind living on the South side of the Thames. It seems like a happening place. 

Next stop: Chennai, India

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