Breakfast in London. Dinner in Ottawa. Today we head home from a wonderful week, and it promises to be a study in contrasts. While London has been a thrill and a stunning spectacle, there are certainly a few things that we look forward to at home.
The streets of London seem to be packed with a bubbling, fizzing crowd at every hour of the day or night. At first the energy was exciting. After a week we both began to find it challenging. Lines (“queues”), crowds, the jostling, the noise…it began to make us feel like we come from a small town, which in fact we do by comparison. Living in London would certainly take some adaptation for our colonial Canadian sensibilities. London traffic at all hours seems almost lethal compared to even the busiest rush hour traffic on Elgin Street. One adapts. I chuckled yesterday to watch Deb crossing Grosvenor Place against the light, winking at me from the median as I cowered on the curb awaiting the light. At one point a young lady tourist stopped her to ask directions. Deb set her on course with detailed directions from memory. I thought she was going to call her “luv”.
Ottawa can certainly learn a few things from London. After a week in “The City” I can’t remember feeling the need for a car. Transit works in London. Whether by tube, by bus, or on foot, getting around London was easy. Transit is prompt and well organized, although admittedly not cheap. Depending on the ticket purchased, it can cost about Cdn$5 for a one-way trip on the tube.
We walked our feet off in central London. We just couldn’t get enough of the sights. The City is beautiful. Perhaps that’s the final image and contrast that we will take away from the trip. Some neighbourhoods look just as they have for the last 300 years. Many are older yet. Buildings are monuments. Perhaps because they were made beautiful, they last. People will be living there in another few hundred years. Imagine that when next you drive through Findlay Creek or Riverside South. I can’t predict the future, but I’m sure that we won’t look back proudly in 500 years at the buildings that we are currently putting up around Ottawa.
Heathrow beckons, via taxi to Paddington and an express train…