Monday, August 20, 2007

Tour Of London

After breakfast yesterday, we sat down with the lists of things to see in London and organized a plan of attack. We put the things that they most wanted to do in the order that it made sense to do them. Many of these things were pubs that friends of theirs back at home suggested that they visit. Some were just plain touristy things.

So, after a brief walk, we arrived at the Surbiton Rail Station. Here, I explained to Janine and Fritz how the train system worked and we talked about our itinerary for the day. One of the tips that I gave them was this: Look at the train schedule. Count the stops between you and your destination. If there are two or more options that have a different number of stops, count on each station stop to take about two minutes. If the number of stations (times two) is greater than the difference between difference in the scheduled time of the train, it may be better to take the later train with fewer stops.

Our first target of the day was Abby Road. The plan was to take our picture as the cover of the album showed the beetles. Now, this is not particularly original, in fact, I would hazard the guess that this is perhaps the most photographed zebra crossing in Europe. (At Least it is the most photographed by tourists…)

But some of the more interesting pictures (and the far more interesting pastime) was watching the other tourists at the crossing. Including the family (from New Jersey if my ear for accents hasn’t lost its edge) who took a cab there and had the car wait for them.

We then walked along Abby Road looking for a pub that had been recommended to Janine and by dint of following the directions she had and the clarification of a cabby we asked, we eventually found ourselves not in Westminster, but in Camden.

The afternoon was great! We got to see a number of things on their list and I made sure that they got to visit a few pubs and have a few beers. We even made it to Trafalgar square. The rain, however made it difficult (and unpleasant) to continue. We stopped our activities around 19:30 and headed home to a curry I cooked for dinner.

High Point of the day (for me): Watching the tourists in Abby Road.
Low Point of the day: The rain and the crowds.
Quote of the day: "Did anyone in this car hear anything unusual. A loud 'bang' or unexplained noise?"

The quote was spoken by a London Transit Police officer while the train was being delayed in the Regent's Park tube station. I must say, after he left there were a number of people looking at each other nervously and there were a few nervous chuckles to unheard comments. A couple people actually decided to get up and get off after the comment. We never did understand what the reason for the question was, but after they police had visited every car, and had chatted with the driver on the platform for a while, the train resumed its trip.

Today they will be going it alone as I am at the office (which I should be by now…) I had better post this and get going, in fact. It does not look (as I write this it is misting pretty heavily out back in the garden) like they will get the sunny day that the BBC predicted last night in the weather forecast. Oh well!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a great day!

Don Bergquist - 20 August 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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