london then

I am so frustrated with my computer right now. iPhoto makes it grind to a halt, and Flickr Uploader times out before I can get a whole batch posted. The photos will have to wait, and I apologize. But now for the textual recap of my last day in London!

We left the hotel at 09:30 on Saturday and took the Tube to the London Eye, the world’s largest observation wheel. At the recommendation of my guidebook, we had purchased our tickets online the day before, and were rewarded with almost no wait in line before boarding at 10:00. The sky was clear, giving us an excellent view of the Thames, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and various other parts of the city. <insert relevant photos trapped on my computer here>

Despite being hungry before we arrived at the Tate Modern, it was difficult for us to focus on anything but the slides. Apparently people show up at 09:00 to book tickets for the level 5 slide! We got our tickets for the level 3 slide and then went to the restaurant for an excellent lunch. The slide did not disappoint! I squealed the whole way down. O yes, and we saw an incredible collection of modern art.

After we finally tore ourselves away from the Tate Modern, we headed to Shakespeare’s Globe – just briefly, because the line for the tour was too long – and then walked across Millennium Bridge toward St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Around this time, the call of the pub was too great to resist, so after a short foray to St. Bartholomew the Great, we found one called The Castle. After a round or two there, we made our way on the Tube to Covent Garden to find pub food for dinner. That ended up a bit of an adventure, since we weren’t entirely diligent with our maps, instead preferring to wander. After a false start in a lame chain that ran out of extremely standard fare (no mashed potatoes? no vegetable pie?) and a lovely place that was just too crowded, we managed to find the White Lion and sat down to a nice meal with some friends.

Things go hazy for me here, because, once fed, the exhaustion of walking around for over 12 hours fully set in for me. I remember walking back to the hotel and having a nightcap with everyone before bidding them goodnight and falling into my bed.

It is impossible to see everything I want to see in London on business travel, regardless of how many times I get to go back, but I’ll sure try. I am amazed at how much we managed to see and how small a percent it was. The city is massive, beyond fathomable proportions. I’d like to take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour the next time I go, just to get some sense of where things actually are. Most of our navigating feels like a dream, a hope, a wish: let’s go here, okay, where does this line go? I don’t know! that block changes names, well, okay.

The gist is that I love traveling, and I love London, and I love my job, and to be able to combine all three loves is still a bit surreal. Now that I’m caught up, on to my next big adventure …

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