On my trip from Dallas to Finland I had a layover regardless of how I booked it that would last a little while in London. Upon examining this fact, I figured why not stay a day and goof around a bit. As I wrote yesterday, what I was most excited about was getting to meet other lifters/Crossfitters and getting to sling some weight around with them.
Don’t hear me wrong. That part was AWESOME! I got to meet Andrew Stemler at Crossfit London. I got the chance to workout at the Bethnal Greens location which was a sweet change of pace from the busyness of the inner-city. More importantly, Andrew let me assist him in coaching some of his clients in the split jerk and we had a blast doing it. Andrew even gave me a shout-out on their blog. I am training again with them today. (In fact by the time you read this I will have already done that.)
However, before I came to London I thought I would not want to see all the “touristy” sites and would want to just hang out at gyms all day. I could not have been more wrong. London is far and away the coolest city I have ever visited. That’s not exaggeration or dramatic effect. It’s reality. I literally walked out of my hotel at noon, got on a bike for hire, and did not return to my room until 9:00 that night. The city was beautiful. The architecture, the foliage, the gardens, the fact that I could find my way around a foreign city on a bike. It was all awesome. Furthermore, the stereotype that the Brits are stuck-up and snobbish is way off. I have met very few people groups in my life who were that helpful and forgiving. I was clearly a tourist and stood out like a sore thumb with my map and bewildered look.
However, I could not have planned that day much better. I got to see every single site I wanted to see. Took a ton of pictures. See below. I literally got to ride across the London Bridge on a bike! I never ride bikes but this felt awesome. The weather was perfect (though I feel like I should start a Vitamin D marketing service in London because the sun never shines) and at the end of the day there was nothing I didn’t see that I wanted to. The coolest site for me was the Westminster Cathedral and hand in hand with that was Westminster Abbey. Those two spots were a quiet, comforting break from the busyness outside. In the cathedral the choir was practicing and the acoustics in there were outrageous. I recorded some of that here.
London far and away exceeded my expectations and the only thing that could have made it better would have been to have my wife alongside me. Sitting in the Abbey together. Standing on the London Bridge together. That would have been the perfect day. I’ve never jumped out on a limb like I did today. Go out by myself without a clue and explore a city. Turns out underground rail system (called the tube) is easy enough that I could figure it out. If this is any indication of how the rest of my time in Europe is going to be, I may never leave.
Well done London. Well done.