My favorite way to get acquainted with a new city is by riding its public transportation, specifically buses. A trip to London is not complete without grabbing a seat on the upper deck of the iconic red double deckers. These buses normally run a loop route so that if you get on a bus and stay on it long enough you can be delivered to your start point. On our first trip to London that’s exactly what we did.
On this good Friday we were the only ones up there. A good time to reflect, look up, and get to know London by its landmarks: the Thames, bridges, speakers corner, that BIG clock, historic pubs. Once we have our bearings, we get off. If we needed further help we’d ask a local. Locals are not only helpful they are a downright good resource. Ask questions. English is universal. Language barrier?~~~>
~~~> A journal snippet from that day in 1985~~~>
“After stopping in a pub for a pint of London Pride, we asked a local where TRA- FALL- GAR Square is. “Oh, you mean Trafalgar”?* He points the way behind us and rattles off directions in a thick cockney accent . We look at each other and say, “Did you understand a word he said?” Shrugging, we wandered in the direction of his finger. Lost? No, we got back on the magic bus, went for a ride, jet lag set in, took a nap, and were delivered to Piccadilly Circus with bus hair.”
*A little off subject but an interesting tidbit of the grammar differences between America and the UK has to do with the use of written quotations. Here in America the punctuation is included inside the quotation marks: “Did you understand a word he said?” In Britain: “Oh, you mean Trafalgar”?