This is a blog series about my European Tour 2009. Each blog post will have at least one song accompanied with it. Please read day 1, 2, 3, 4-5, 5.5, 6-7, 8, 9 & 10-11 before proceeding. If you haven’t downloaded the soundtrack for this blog series, please do so here. Song to be played (repeat if necessary) while reading this blog post: The Spinto Band – Oh Mandy.
Upon my arrival at the most American city on this adventure, I was asked by my couch surfing host, who happens to work for the BBC, if I needed a map.
“Nope, I want to get lost,” I replied.
She smiled and responded in a Spanish accent, “Wonderful! London is a great place to get lost and learn about yourself.” She pointed me towards the river and off I went running.
There before me was what I have been waiting for: the marvelous London Eye and the magnificent Big Ben on either side of the Thames. Hello London!
Approaching the London Eye, I couldn’t help but think of Doctor Who. “I’m such a nerd,” I said to myself as I laughed. I secretly want to find the Doctor and his blue TARDIS. Scratch that, I’m going to find the Doctor and the TARDIS.
Inside the London Eye, I could see the whole city below me. There was the House of Parliament, St. Paul Cathedral, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and oh so much more. But where? Where should I go next? My mind was blown by the excitement and possibilities of just getting lost.
Grounded, I headed towards Westminster Bridge as I try to recreate the wonderful scene of the Doctor and Rose in the very first episode of Doctor Who that I watched.
As I was trying to snag the perfect shot, I befriend Rodion, a Russian from Vancouver, Canada. He had an 8 hour layover and wanted to see as much of London as he could before he had to return home. On his list was Trafalgar Square, Tower of London and London Bridge. With 2 hours before he had to head back to Heathrow, we knew what we had to do. We ran.
One by one, we knocked off each site on the list. Snapping pictures, walking around the grounds and having a short but lasting conversation before Rodion had to depart. Two travelers from two different countries, connecting in two hours, while eating two fish and chips, with an awful lot of running in between.
Starting off at the BBC London offices again, I ran away from the Thames this time to get lost. I was in search of Platform 9 3/4 but instead I found the British Museum. To my surprise, I found the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles while I was wandering the walls of history. Oh the wonders of getting lost.
With no map in hand, because that’s how I prefer to travel and learn a place, I left the museum running to a new uncharted place. Moments later, I found myself in Picadilly Circus and OMG LOOK! THE TARDIS! Well, kind of. But it’s a blue police box. I’ll take it.
Smiling that this is probably the closest thing to finding the real TARDIS and the Doctor, I head off again in the direction my heart set forth. I headed anywhere in hopes getting somewhere. The somewhere became Buckingham Palace, then Hyde Park and finally Paddington Station when I remembered why I wanted to get lost in the first place. I wanted to go to Hogwarts!
From Paddington, I ran towards Kings Cross in hopes of running through the red brick wall to the Hogwarts Express. And sure enough, there it was before me: Platform 9 3/4s. Well, except that Platform 9 was under renovation so they moved it to Platform 8. Though thinking about it, shouldn’t they have rounded up to Platform 10? Either way, I wasn’t able to run through the wall. I blame the inauthenticity of the platform.
Though I wasn’t able to make it to Hogswarts nor find the real Doctor, I thought to myself as I walked by the Shakespeare theater, “I did an awful lot of running these last two days.” But better, I got lost and found myself as my couch surfing host said. And sure enough, I found myself right where it all started.