Farewell Angleterre

IMG_2740-1 I have now wrapped up my six day trip to the UK’s capital, during which time I met up with a lot of people, ate a lot of fine food, wandered around in the sunshine and, I admit, went through a veritable swathe of beverages.

On my last full day in the UK my brother and I felt it would be inopportune of us to miss out on spending at least a short amount of time in the pub. We popped out to one of his many locals in the afternoon, where I tried some of the further ale options, which Phil peered at suspiciously before continuing on with an expensive sounding premium continental lager.

Shortly before arriving at the pub, we stumbled across one of the new bicycle hire racks which are being installed all across central London, allowing people to pick up a bicycle, and for a very nominal fee, transport themselves to another bicycle stand somewhere else in the city. There are, I am led to believe, thousands of bicycles about to appear at these stands all over the city. Always nice to see more options for commuting or just cheap transport being opened up, although I have often suspected people willing to cycle on the roads of London to be a teeny bit mad. What with the buses and taxis and cars and, well, all manner of metallic objects that would usually beat a bicycle at a game of chicken. We debated the pros and cons of the bicycle hire scheme with a chap who was also inspecting the new system, before meandering our way to the actual pub.

Not a lot else seems to have changed in London since I was away. A giant new skyscraper is being erected over London Bridge, which looks like it will the shard tower 2be suitably futuristic. One of the artistic impressions renders an almost Blade Runner-esque view of the London skyline once this spire, shaped like a  shard of glass, is completed. I expect that to be pretty impressive when finally done. Otherwise, people have moved houses, or jobs, or had kids, or got engaged. Life is, therefore, going onwards as it is wont to do. The city, and indeed the nation, had not entirely ground to a halt in my absence, which was nice.

My final few waking hours on my last day were naturally spent in another pub, meeting up with a friend to say farewell. As we were leaving this venue, we re-encountered our friend from the bicycle rack, who, to put it mildly, had clearly already partaken of more than the odd glass of something. Swaying gently, he exclaimed how delighted he was to meet us again, and regaled us with stories of his saxophone playing life. His name, interestingly, was Charlie,  the same name as the Czech chef from the now infamous buffet incident. So the visit was rounded off nicely, finishing in much the way it had started, in a pub, talking to a stranger called Charlie.

I am now back in Germany after a lovely flight with Easyjet (I can confirm that it is possible to go from bed to in-flight within two hours from central London, but I would not recommend this as a course of action if you want a stress free travelling experience), and I have to say, it is nice to be back. Absence does, it seem, make the heart grow fonder. The weather is glorious, I have a wedding to go to (suit provided courtesy of my dear brother, I promise to look after it carefully), and everything continues to look, well, joyful. To everyone I saw this week, thanks for coming along folks!

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