(I've changed the name from "Rants" given that I can't really rant about many things that frustrate me here, at least not without getting into some sort of trouble. As such, you'll have to wait for the book.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Have your brollie at the ready...

So were my instructions from the newslady. It probably gives you an idea as to where I am. I arrived in the UK last Sunday after an overnight flight from Nairobi. I had the better part of the day at my disposal so I needed to quickly decide whether I was going to hunker down at the hotel and do some work, do some much needed shopping or head into London to do some exploring. For better or worse I chose the last option and off I went.
a selfie of me in the reflection of a stainless steel ball with St. Paul's Cathedral in the background

In fact the umbrella that was suggested by the newslady wasn't until the following day. The weather this day was, on the contrary, quite pleasant and figured into my decision. The other thing that figured into my decision was the unlikelihood that I would have time to do this later in the week. In retrospect, it turned out to be a wise decision.
the Tower of London

I arrived at Waterloo Station and proceeded to spend the next five hours or so walking around and just enjoying the city. I figured that I hadn't been in London for about 15 years and I was surprised at how much it had changed. The last time was here I was with my brother and parents. They had planned a trip to visit me when I was living in Brussels. As it turned out, in the interim I had decided to leave my job and return to the States (though it didn't last very long). So in addition to fulfilling my plans of dragging them around Belgium, northern France and southern England, they also ended up helping me pack my things and carting them back to the US. Always some give and take when you're dealing with family. In any case, it was a great trip and I was very happy it worked out so well.

Flash forward fifteen years and how much has changed. For the better.
the Shard, obviously wasn't there 15 years ago

So from the train station I headed out, camera in hand, to see if I could loop around, hit all the key sites, and then return to the hotel so that I would have my evening to do emails and prepare for the meetings the following day. It sort of worked out that way, fortunately for me. In fact I even found time to hang out in a park near the Tower Bridge, have a boar burger and listen to live music. It was without a doubt the highlight of my day.
festival at the park near Tower Bridge
I then cut back towards the station and continued on to Westminster and Buckingham Palace. It was a lengthy walk in all but definitely worth the while, particularly since I would be sitting in my butt most of the coming week.
The good news was that this didn't end up being the only tourism that I would be able to do. We were, though the organizers of my meeting, able to do a private tour of Windsor Castle and have an evening dinner cruise on the Thames - on neither occasion did we need the brollie. Not bad. I'll blog about those later.

Buckingham, of course

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