Touching down at Gatwick, I was an amazed tourista, laughing at how positively British the little trees looked, and how grey and depressing the rest of everything seemed. Stepping into the airport I acquired a new appreciation for all things air conditioned back here at home, and as our day progressed came to realize that British people just must not like air. Or they at least prefer it sticky and stuffy.
45 minutes, a sticky and stuffy express train, and two overpriced tickets later, we arrived in about the centre of downtown London and made our way onto the sticky and stuffy subway system. We checked into our hostel, I showered, and we packed a backpack and headed out into London. We just wanted to experience London, so we made our way around, stopping and going and continuing on and snapping photos and looking and laughing and walking for an entire day, hand in hand, just enjoying the entire process; The whole crazy, loud, rushing experience.
We walked through Kensington Gardens and Hyde park, and appreciated the gorgeous trees and natural lawns. We laughed at how the ducks quacked differently, and wondered how the Canadian geese had made their way over here, too. We admired English gardens, and wished there wasn't so much ugly garish gold finish on the gates and fences.
We learned to trust the painted signs on the sidewalk, cautioning to "look left" or "look right" and on occasion, "look bothways", as the crowded London streets were full of the fastest, craziest drivers in more BMWs, Audis, Mercedes and heavily advertized cabs than I have ever seen anywhere else. While we were outside Buckingham Palace we saw the Changing of the Guard -- I wonder how those guards really feel about those hats. Trafalgar Square was chaotic, as was Picadilly Circus. Just a mad stream of busy Brits and camera-happy tourists. There have got to be about a kabillion red double-decker buses in London, even after only having been there for a few hours one could be sick of seeing them.
I have learned that the best way to travel, to really see a city, is just to go out and walk. And walk we did. We walked all over London, for the entire day, hand in hand, he with his camera and me with mine. Laughing and pointing, and talking, or maybe just strolling in silence. We looked for interesting rocks for Summer Lily and took photos of things we thought the girls would want to see -- like the mermaid fountain and the enormous lion statues (which there are a surprising amount of). One of the best parts of just heading into an unknown city with a road map and the excitement of the adventure, is the little unplanned discoveries that just happen upon you, unannounced and very happy.
Sending this off while I still have an internet connection,