Day 11: London
Next stop, the land of tea, perpetual rain, double-decker busses and as I soon discovered, a plethora of beautiful bookstores.
With less than one solitary day to explore the inner workings of London CBD, before adventuring out to my rendezvous, I had recommendations to go to the British Museum. With a cue literally out of the gates, my optimism at getting past the front door was significantly stifled, and so a quick dash around the block to Pollock's Toy Museum was in order. Eccentric, eclectic and quite excellent. That is how I felt about Pollock's. Tucked away in a 4 story house, Pollock's had the reassuring feeling of rambling around your grandparents attic only to discover toys of lost generations. Also, toys that may have been better left amongst the dust, such as an automated cabbage baby. Maybe it was the original cabbage patch doll? At any rate, I found the eyes and general disposition to be quite off putting.
With only a few hours left, and a deep hankering for a good book, and some proper tea, I found myself quickly curled up in a cosy bookstore with the words of Neil Gaiman wandering through my head.
The afternoon sun enticed me out of the comfort of the bookstore, and I found myself lounging in the grass at a nearby park, watching the birds and marvelling at the sun dancing through the tree leaves.
Navigating my way through the Underground to my rendezvous point, I quickly realised upon arriving at my destination, a foreign train station 30 minutes from downtown London, that if Helen didn't arrive, with 5% battery left on my phone and with no idea of my final destination, no contacts written on paper and no ability to charge my phone, I would be quite lost and out of my depth. Our growing improvements in technology are amazing, as is the way that it integrates seamlessly into our lives, however our dependence on it can lead to an inability to think laterally or practically, as was the case for me.
My existential crisis was halted by the lovely and beaming Helen, who promptly weaved us through the train station, and delivered us onto a comfortable carriage in record time. Upon arriving we were greeted by Helen's family, and generously fed and watered at a local pub before wandering back to their apartment for late night chats.
London reminded me that pen, paper and a hand drawn map can be your best friend in a foreign city, especially when your phone battery is running low!