Greetings from London, England. Or should I say cheers!
Teresa and I decided to break up the trip to Johannesburg, South Africa by staying in London for several days. Sometimes I think we are downright brilliant. I never do well with overnight flights but this time decided to live better pharmacologically. It does make a difference.
As stated in my previous post, I will introduce you to some of my traveling companions. I thought I would do this as I have joined them. Teresa is a friend of mine who dates back to high school. Believe it or not this is the first time that we have traveled internationally together. Life seemed to place us on different paths for quite a while but I am glad we have come together for this trip.
Teresa has been to London many times before but I am a newbie. We have now spent two days in downtown London with lots of walking tours and “tube trips”. This morning I also did a big run at 6:30 AM which seems to be the best time to view London as there are very few people out and about. I can certainly tell you at other times of the day the crowds can be downright overwhelming. Just like New York, the underground is the way to get around efficiently and inexpensively. We have covered a lot of ground. Sites have included-Westminster Abbey, the Parliament buildings and Big Ben, the theater district, Soho, the Royal Parks (including St. James, Green and Hyde Park), the Tower of London, London Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Notting Hill Portobello Street Market and Kensington. We have a good location at a downtown hotel right beside the Eye. I can confirm that London is under construction for the upcoming Olympic Games. They are really sprucing up the place.
I am of two minds regarding London. I certainly believe it is a place that you should visit and there are so many sights to see. However, the crowds at times have been oppressive. I generally like wide-open wilderness spaces and solitary experiences so I am happy we are only spending a couple of days here. After all of our walking over the last two days we have decided to take a boat cruise (thank you Hilary) from the Westminster Pier to Hampton Court. This will provide a good opportunity for us to practice our photography under more relaxed conditions. Teresa has a new small SLR camera and is definitely wanting to get some frame rate experience with it before we depart to Africa.
All in all, this has been a great start to our trip and the weather has been very cooperative. I have an early start tomorrow so I will sign off for today. With my next post I will try to outline where we will be traveling in Africa for the safari portion of our tour. Stay tuned…