The primary intent of my time in London was less to see the city and more to see my friend Kevin and his baby and catch up with Phil, but I managed to get a good feel for the city in the process. Well, nix the term “good”… the city was pretty and at times I loved the lavish and historic vibe, but although it was nice to be back in a place where I spoke the language, that familiarity soon was thwarted by an overwhelming feeling of rudeness from the Londoners I encountered! What gives? Perhaps it was because I was an American visiting at the same time Trump was, perhaps the local personality is a dry, honest one with no need for a superficial smile. I tried not to take it too personally, and was happy to spend time with friends after all of my solo travel. I fit in a run around the city, past Parliament, up and down the river Thames, by London(/Tower) Bridge, by the Trump Protest, through English Bobbies (Police) with their funny hats, and up and down the spiral staircase in the Monument to the Great Fire of London. I went to the supercool Fitzroy Tavern which felt like the Epitomy of a British Pub. Then on the other side of the spectrum, Phil, Kevin, a bunch of Phil’s friends and I attended the Abandoman show, a hilarious musical improvisor who pulled both Kevin and I up on the stage as subject matter. Proof below.
I spent a day at first the National Gallery and thereafter a separate Picasso Exhibit, delving into his life and transformation as an artist. The definite highlight and impetus for the trip was the James Taylor & Paul Simon concert at Hyde Park. It didn’t seem to matter how big huge the crowd was or how old each of the performers were getting – they each put on a show that had me in happy, nostalgic tears, singing their hearts out along with a crowd of around 60,000 fans.