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Cats, Cathedrals and Ciders: The South of England: Day 18

06 Jul

Sun. May 29, 2016:
London to Toronto

I woke up and my joints were sore, I was starting to get old. On the plus side I did not have a hangover. I had to pack, and everything was a mess. The plan was to leave our bags with the hotel concierge and get in a half day of activities as our flight was not until the late afternoon.

We transited to the Tower of London. We got off at Bank Station, where you really do have to “mind the gap” as there was about two feet between the subway door and the platform. It is amazing that they have not fixed that, how has no one fallen in?! We got to the Tower of London via the empty financial district. As it turned out everyone was visiting that museum. There was a huge line-up to buy tickets and then above the ticket booth on the marquee sign it said that it was an approximately 40 minute wait to see the Crown Jewels, the main attraction. Forget that! Having to wait in line and then wait to see stuff, all for £25?! Not worth it.

Instead we walked down to the Tate Modern, on the way we passed the ugly bridge again and this time I saw that it was labelled underneath: London Bridge. The Tate Modern was still super busy but much more manageable. We could actually get inside and move freely. My purse was uncomfortably heavy as I had brought my iPad with me, not wanting to leave it with the concierge. I did not want to risk checking it at the museum, and I did not have £2 anyway. For the map I only had 10p, so that was what I threw in. Turns out it was not even worth that. The map was all wrong because the museum was undergoing major renovations. This also helped us with the time crunch. There were only two floors of exhibitions open to the public. We finished it in under two hours. In amongst the head-scratchers and weird stuff were some gems: Picasso, Braque, Dali, and Magritte. Rothko just made me mad.

It would have taken us too long to walk to Westminster Abbey so instead we just headed back to the hotel. On the subway there were drunken soccer hooligans, it was not even 2pm yet. We grabbed our bags and started walking towards Paddington Station, we needed to be on the Piccadilly Line to get to the airport. We stopped at The Victoria Pub for lunch. I had one last Sunday roast dinner. This time it was pork loin with some crackling, it was incredible. I developed a love affair with the dough crunch side, the so-called Yorkshire pudding. It was a brilliant idea for a dinner: meat and a pastry puff and potatoes. No room for veggies though, that makes it too much food. The only cider they had on draught was the Stowford Press which I had already had before. I had a bottle of Cornish Orchards pear cider instead. The subway to the airport slowly rocked me to sleep, all around me people were people with luggage falling asleep.

It was a struggle, but I had to stay awake as we would be landing in Toronto at 9pm. we breezed through security. The London-themed bottle opener key chain that we bought on our first night in London did not cause any trouble thankfully. The info board said that the gate info would not be posted until 5pm, for the time being we had no idea which end of the airport to hang out. I wandered around and did a lap of the top floor. I was tempted to buy a rooster mug but it was £10 which seemed really expensive for a mug. I bought some Haribo starmix gummies and one last Double-decker and Irn Bru. We found out our gate number 20 minutes before boarding but the sign said it takes 15 minutes to get there from our spot. Why would they do that? We barely had to wait to board the plane. It was a long wait once we got on the plane though. Making matters worse, the entertainment system was not working and had to be rebooted. Things turned around once we were up in the air and the TVs were working. I watched Hateful Eight, Sisters and Zoolander 2 and then a few episodes of New Girl. The icing on the cake was that the bar service was free, we weren’t even flying Porter, this was Air Canada! I briefly considered having a third serving of wine but thought better of it. The vacation was amazing, but I arrived home exhausted and with dead legs and a newfound appreciation of cider and love affair with Yorkshire puddings and Sunday roasts.

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