One of the interesting and challenging aspects of spending a week in London, or any big city, is getting around.
Despite an excellent public transportation system and charging most people for driving around the central city, the English capital didn’t seem any less congested than it did six years ago when we last visited.
But at least their people seem to accept efforts to try alternatives, not to mention that they support paying for infrastructure that does not use asphalt.
Which is a very different attitude from here in the US capital where any effort by the District government to reduce the traffic mess and make the city more livable is seen as a war on suburban workers.
City officials say that the moves are part of a policy of putting the needs of its residents and businesses before those of suburban commuters and that they are trying to create a walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented metropolis.
Like New York, London, Stockholm and Portland, Ore., District officials said, the city is reclaiming its streets for the people who live there. With billions of dollars invested in the Metro system, there are plenty of ways for commuters to get into the city without bringing exhaust-spewing vehicles with them, officials said.
Well, I’m not so sure about there being “plenty” of alternative ways to get in and out of the city.
However, considering almost everyone in this area assumes a God-given right to drive, and no one wants to pay a dime to improve things, anything DC leaders can do to discourage driving in the city is a step in the right direction.
Got back from London yesterday afternoon and am in something of a haze this morning.
I could blame it all on jet lag but my fuzzier than usual condition is actually a combination of two and a half weeks worth of high energy activities.
First there was NECC in San Antonio followed closely by the week in London, with our annual Independence Day madness squeezed in between.
Both trips were excellent experiences but no matter how much fun it is to travel, getting home is always a pleasure, even if a slowly declining amount of chaos remains for a while.
So I’m taking one extra day of leave today to clean up, reset, and sift through the pictures and thoughts of the past 17 days. Lots of illustrated rants coming soon.
Do I really have to go back to the normal routine tomorrow? :-)
Sitting in the largest Apple store in the world, Regent Street, London.
I know… there are many older, more important historic sites in this city.
But very few of them have free wifi!
After a couple of days to recover from the trip to San Antonio (and do the laundry), tonight we’re off to London for a week.
The choir in which the musical wife sings will be performing two concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra at St. Paul’s Cathedral as part of the City of London Festival.
The program is Mahler’s Symphony No 8 (which seems to known as simply THE Mahler) and I gather that both dates are sold out. [Anyone want to buy my ticket? Cheap?*]
Since I am decidedly non-musical, my purpose in going is primarily to spend some time in an interesting place that is not here. And take lots of pictures without getting arrested.
Our hotel is on the north edge of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, which should make for some good morning explorations and photo ops.
Anyway, while I won’t have the usual constant connectivity, I am taking the iPhone, mostly for the video (need to catch up on Dr. Who) to blunt the boredom of the long flights.
And if I run across some free wifi connections (the world’s largest Apple Store is three or four tube stops away!), I may experiment with posting some short entries and a few tweets.
Or maybe not.
Actually, for a short time, it will be nice to disconnect from the normal information overload.
[* I’ll be in trouble for that one! :-)]