It took me only about 30 minutes to get that ‘feeling’ about London after which I understood just why it is so popular with tourists. After spending some time in non-English speaking countries in SE Asia and Europe, it was nice to be walking around being able to read signs and overhear and understand conversations. How lucky was I to be here?
It started with my youngest son who was making a business trip from Australia and he asked if we could meet in London for a long weekend of sightseeing. I jumped at the opportunity, not only because I had never been to that city but also because he was allocating me a bucket load of frequent flyer points to enable me to fly there free!
After settling into our hotel, we made a plan of what we would see each day. Not being sure of exactly where we were we made good use of our GPS system as we walked the streets on day one. Harrods, the Queens Gardens, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament on the Thames and Big Ben all provided great moments of sightseeing and history.
Of course, we needed to refuel our bodies especially after the first day during which we strolled around and walked 19 kilometres! We found great places to eat compliments of the Bistro K website which pointed us in the right direction depending on what style of cuisine we were looking for. We also frequented the famous English pubs which have no equal anywhere else in the world. Names like The Slug and Lettuce, The Round Table and The Theodore Bullfrog were great places to get a cold beer as well as amuse us with their names.
At one pub, the Anglesea Arms, we met another Aussie, Richard, who was all decked out in his motorcycle gear as was his partner, Bronwyn. They were obviously real enthusiasts because Richard’s helmet looked circa World War II while his girlfriend had a more modern, conventional style. Their bike parked out the front was a rare gem, an old Norton from the 50’s which was in pristine condition.
Richard regaled us with some incredible adventure stories of their ride so far which had taken them across most of Britain, through Wales and Scotland. They had a few harrowing close calls but were thankful that their outfits like full leathers and bike helmets had saved them from serious injuries after a couple of spills. The vintage helmet Richard wore was only when he was cruising slowly through the bigger cities.
We had quite a few beers and many laughs. I had a few stories of my own about my global travels but I didn’t want to tell them that my motorbike was just a little Honda scooter that I had parked in a small village outside ChiangMai in Thailand. The weird thing about riding scooters and motorcycles in SE Asia was that there was no strict law about wearing bike helmets and 90% of riders never even bothered. Maybe there is a law but there is certainly no enforcement of it.