A London Summer Meetup
For the last three months, we have shared more of our time and space with animals and open land than with other people. The areas we visited in both New Zealand and Australia were sometimes remote, but almost always sparsely populated. Then we landed in London. In August.
When you haven’t been in Europe in the summer months for almost 15 years, it is easy to forget how insane the streets, sights and atmosphere can be. At 9 a.m. on a Monday, we walked by the queue for the Sherlock Holmes museum that was more than 150 people deep. The queue for Madame Tussaud’s wax museum was double that. Sights like Buckingham Palace that require entrance tickets are sold out days in advance and the people jockeying for a space of their own on the Trafalgar Square lions could easily erupt into a fistfight at any point.
But there are also quiet parts of London, where the neighborhood barber has a sign on the window letting his customers know he will be on holiday for a few weeks. At the British Library, people can walk right up and see early maps of the world and pencil scratched Beatles lyrics on display. A stroll along the Regent’s Canal walk among the colorful and funky houseboats gradually gets busy as the day wears on, but it’s with locals getting their exercise – not tourists snapping pictures.
You can still find a place to zen-out in one of the many London parks.
We are finding our own little spaces in London and avoiding the pressure to join the lines, which is something we never have enjoyed doing anyway. The delicious stalls of the Broadway Market, the walls lined with amazing travel books in Daunt Books and the welcoming bar and staff at Drew’s Brew & Que have been highlights of our “London for non-tourists” days.
Fortunately though, we didn’t come to London to run from one major sight to the next. Instead, we are finally getting a chance to see some of our family and reacquaint ourselves after eight months away. Our brother and sister in-law and two nieces have joined us for a week in London and in a few days, we will meet Dave’s parents to join a 10-day cruise through the fjords in Norway. We have really been missing our family and friends so the timing of these meet-ups has been perfect.
We will battle the crowds a little bit more just to round out our time in one of the world’s greatest cities, but we are focusing on what matters most – being with our family.