After the business part of my time here, it was time to did a little exploration of London and, having been here before, in fact last year, most recently, I wanted to explore London, as I did last year after the business part of my trip, pounding the payment, but actually tried the Hop On Hop Off experience with one of the supplier’s companies and things seemed to go well for the first hour or so, and then things seemed to unravel. As the route continued, we started going around in circles, and we passed by St. Paul’s Cathedral, not once, not twice, but three times, and it is definitely worth seeing, but even with diversions (English for detours). Oh, that’s right, British English, not American English, we continued. It seemed that finally, we were back on track, and I was getting to a stop where I wanted to change route, so I came down from the top. As it turned out, this was a new driver, he was getting further behind, as he had done the repeated route, diversion or not, and then did not even stop at the designated stops at the end of the route, so he could get back on track. Perhaps, more training should have been involved.
In the end, we got back to the beginning, which in this case, Piccadilly, I would have had to repeat the whole route again, just to get back to the place I had wanted to get to. As it turns out, however, one of the tour operator employees, listened to what had happened, and radioed ahead to one of the drivers of the other route, escorted me to the meeting location, so that I would not have to meet that route by doing the whole circuit over, and connected to the second route. In the end, I was on my way, headed in the correct direction and had a very nice conversation with the driver, a gentleman by the name of Trevor, who was originally from Jamaica and has been with the company for some 30 years. He and chatted for the better part of the time. No, I was not distracting him, and he knew the city and history, like the Black Taxi Cabbies and being in the same age bracket, we talked about many things, so it was almost like a personal tour, even though there were others on the bus, upstairs. In the end, he made, along with the tour operator employee, whose name I did not get, a mistake by a rookie driver into a pleasant experience and then enjoyed lunch, by then I was very hungry, at the Churchill Arms Pub and had Thai food. It was good and albeit strange, for a British pub, it was a nice experience, after which, I walked back to my hotel about 1 ½ miles through some very nice neighborhoods.
Yesterday, we the piece d ’resistance of the trip here, and that was going to an American football game. Not just a football game, as I had done that several years before when I went to Wembley to see the Jacksonville Jaguars play against the Houston Texans. I had no skin in the game and don’t remember the score, but it was fun, and the Brits definitely enjoyed and got into American football, and it was a good time, but this time around, yes, there was skin in the game, and I was there to see the Minnesota play against the New Orleans Saints and there is a history between these two teams. Of course, I lived in Minnesota for much of my life and so, when I saw it on the schedule, I extended my trip here and bought a ticket, in the nosebleed section of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and it is a beautiful stadium, and the site lines were great. It was a Saints home game, and the field, the announcer, the cheerleaders, and the fans, yes tons had come over from the states in their Black and Gold, but there was a strong contingent of Viking fans, yours truly included at the game. In fact, right next to me were four Swedes who had flown in, just for the game. Imagine that Swedes being Vikings fans and it was exciting to be there. It was loud and the energy was there. If you watched the game from your telly, then you know what happened and while the Vikings should have run away with this game, they once again, made in too close for comfort, and only with a missed field goal in the end that hit the upright, not once, but twice and drop backwards and not across, the game was won 28 – 25, and overtime did not happen. Afterwards, I was off to my 71st Hard Rock, the third in London, and enjoyed a celebratory evening, wings and ribs and beer.
Today, being my last full day, I will be doing a foodie tour, yes, a foodie tour in London, the East End to be exact and try, hopefully, something different from typical English food. Tired of the sausages and beans and runny eggs for breakfast, so we shall see what is involved. I am sure it will be fun, nevertheless and being 5 to 8 hours ahead as I finish this week’s blog, I will be off to lunch with this company with which I have arranged foodie tours before, mostly on the continent, but offerings here in London, as well. Tomorrow, I will try to get to Windsor Castle in the morning, but if not, I will head to the airport earlier, enjoy the lounge and relax before my flight back to the states where I will be for only a few short weeks when I cross the pond again, for the whole month of November and beyond. From this American in Jolly Ol’ England, thank you for your support of my crazy little world and of my small business and thank you to my British colleagues and shout out to Trevor, for making a bad situation much better. It is truly appreciated, and as always, I am interested in your thoughts, comments, questions and adding to the discourse is always appreciated be in on the site itself or on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you read this.
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin