Saskatoon has very poor connections to most international destinations, often requiring a stop in the states (yuck!) or silly layovers that split the trip in half and mean you can’t sleep well. Graham managed to find a nice layover: 10 hours in London at the end of the trip. This seemed like a nice chance to see the city, run off some jetlag, and experience some Olympic-ness. Kind of t like my surprise trip to Chicago, but warmer and better accents. I took the express train… expensive but better than the tube which takes about 3 hours out of one’s visiting time. The underground day pass was a good buy at 7 £ , and I got to move all over the city fairly easily.
I arrived between the olympics and paralympics so there was lots of toursit support, including free maps and folks in pink outfits ready to give directions and advice. I didn’t see wenlock and mandebill, the silly rocket phallus mascots (rocket phalli?), but I didn’t miss them. I arrived in London proper at Paddington station (sadly no abandoned bears to be found), then took the tube to the tower of london, walked along the thames past victoria embankment, st pauls, across from the globe theatre, saw westminster abbey, the parliament buildings, big ben, and the London eye. Most importantly, went to marks and sparks to pick up a great lunch to eat in trafalgar square. I even got a pudding, which is pretty much what England is best at when it comes to food (unless you count chicken tikka masala, which I don’t because you can’t live off the benefits of your colonial oppression forever.) It was an active whirlwind, with only slight dents in my shoulders from my massive carry on backpack bouncing around on my back the whole time. Maybe someday I will go back, and see more of East London and look for the place where my Mom was born during the war.