Reflections and images from my travels

London’s Calling!

Hello again. Evelyn and I did actually get some sleep, with pharmacologic intervention, on the overnight flight to London England. We must’ve had a tailwind as we arrived approximately 40 minutes early at Terminal 5.

Our big decision was to either take the subway express or a taxi to our hotel. I convinced Evelyn that a taxi was the way to go. Little did we know that there was going to be a slowdown on the highway into London. On the positive side, the weather was absolutely spectacular. Completely blue skies and very hot. A quick check on the iPhone told us that this weather would likely last for the remainder of our London leg with highs of 27-28°C. Perfect. The trip to our hotel took a lot longer and we would have spent a lot less money if we had taken the subway express. Alas, we comforted ourselves with the fact that we had door-to-door service.

Our hotel was located right in the centre of London beside the “Eye”. A perfect location. One thing we were not prepared for were the massive crowds! Mind you, this was peak summer season in one of the largest cities in the world. What did we expect?

We were quite desperate to purchase theatre tickets for the following 3 days. After dropping off our luggage, we quickly hired another taxi to get to the discount ticket centre in Leicester Square. After 10 minutes it became clear that we would have been better off walking. We were completely bogged down in traffic. We simply paid the taxi driver and walked the remainder of the way. On Sundays, the ticket centre closes early at 4:30 PM. We arrived at about 4:15 PM and found out that it was unlikely to get into any performances that evening of our choice. We quickly decided on a standup comedy performance called ” Stand Up for Women” which was a benefit performance for numerous women’s support agencies in London.

At this point, we decided to part ways as Evelyn was meeting a friend, Anne, and I was itching for a run to shake off some cobwebs from the previous two days of preparation. We decided we would simply meet in the theatre district later that evening at 7 PM. The plan was for each of us to eat dinner prior to the evening’s performance.

I returned to the hotel to quickly change and started my run hoping to only go for about 50 minutes. It was brutally hot as well as very humid. It didn’t seem to matter. I ran back up through the theatre district into Hyde Park and was hoping to simply run down the Royal Parks back towards Westminster. Somehow, I got turned around and ran much too far east. I started to panic a little bit because I knew I was going to be late for that evening’s performance at 7 PM. I got back to the hotel at approximately 6:35 PM sweating and about 5 lbs lighter. That was the quickest shower I’ve ever had. My running clothes were strewn about the hotel room as I endeavoured to get changed. I still had about 25 minutes of walking to get to the Garrick theatre.

I did arrive late by about 10 minutes. I could not find Evelyn so I sat in an end aisle seat and enjoyed the performance immensely. I was able to meet up with Evelyn at intermission. All of the performers were local comedians. I think we missed half of the jokes as they were based on local politicians but it didn’t matter. It was a great and easy way to end the evening. After the performance we had a wonderful Italian meal as I was famished and then made our way back to our hotel where we collapsed into our beds for a very well-deserved slumber.

We certainly squeezed a lot into our inaugural half day. Tomorrow we would be visiting the Tate Britain museum. How cultured!

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