“We are going to have a long layover in Heathrow,” he said, almost apologetically when announcing the details of our flight. He didn’t do well to hide his pleasure. I immediately knew he was as excited as I at the idea.
England, and all the British Isles, formed the center of all my childhood daydreams. What fortune that my trip to Italy would include a day in London! Not enough, certainly, but I take what I can get.
Pro tip before we get started: definitely take the Heathrow Express from the airport to Paddington Station. Taking the regular tube is less expensive, definitely, but if you’re short on time that ticket is definitely worth the cost.
Here’s what I can report from our short time in London:
The Canadian gates to the palace gardens are the biggest and the prettiest. (And Canada House is definitely the largest embassy in Trafalgar Square.)
Side note: can we please have more statues of breastfeeding women? Pleaseandthankyou.
St. James Park calmed my soul after our crazy morning.
London Bridge is in fact not falling down, but sturdy as ever and heavy with foot traffic especially when everyone gets off work. It is also a great spot to observe the Tower Bridge.
So much of the city was either behind a barricade or behind scaffolding, but as we had already had so many hiccups we were prepared to just take things as they happened and make the best of it.
After a week of cathedrals we had not yet tired of them. Thankfully St. Margaret’s was not under scaffolding.
I experienced a rare moment to view the London Eye without buses in the way. Imagine my luck that the sky was also showing off and Boadicea and Her Daughters perfectly framed by the Eye.
Do you remember my ongoing theme through Italy of my fascination with the juxtaposition of old and new? Well London did not disappoint.
We visited the circus known as Piccadilly and confirmed it to be a circus indeed.
However the curved buildings to match the curved roads charmed me completely.
Unexpectedly we stumbled across the gate to Chinatown.
We found the crowds to be much lighter at Trafalgar Square.
We also enjoyed the art at Trafalgar. While we were too late to visit the National Gallery, the Square still offered us much to see.
At the end of the night, completely exhausted, we decided to begin our trek back to the hotel. But not without one more stop. I bet you can’t guess what we found at the Baker Street stop …
… the London Beatles Museum & Store!
… which was right next door to 221b Baker Street.
What would it have taken to conclude our trip to London satisfied? A week? A month? I’m not sure but I can assure you that one evening is wholly inadequate.
And yet, we were tired, and we missed our children. I can say I’ve seen it, but I’ll most certainly not check it off my list quite yet.
The strangest thing about London (not including the subject of tomorrow’s post) is that we heard more people speaking Italian in the public places in London than we did in many of the cities of Italy. That’s how you know it’s travel season.
I joked all week about how maybe I was actually Italian or maybe I was actually Swiss. My family lines come strongly from Britain. I am even named Heather because of my heritage. And this girl needs to go back and know her people. But until then, I’m happy to cuddle my little people and review the photos of our amazing journey.