In August we were “forced” into an extended stay in London waiting for a weather window to take Wanderlust across the English Channel. Everyone who has made the Channel crossing in his or her barges told us that we would not have to wait forever. The weather, we were reminded, will turn in our favor and crossing the Channel in our home would at some point be possible. It is just a matter of waiting for a good window. Nevertheless, though we trusted what we were told, at the moment taking our barge to France seemed to be a nebulous dream.
The upside of being delayed was that it gave us the chance to explore more of London than we ever had before. It is hard to say whether we’ve graduated past the major sights or just become tired of dodging through the throngs of tourists. It is also possible that our dog Gigi influenced our explorations. Though we could take the pooch on the London Underground, she was not allowed into many of famous buildings. Dogs need culture too, at least that’s what Gigi thinks, but she couldn’t go inside the structures to see it. Exploring the streets was the best we could do for the dog. And for Gigi, this might have been a better option. It gave her endless chances to check all those messages from those cute British boy dogs looking to hook up with a foxy American bitch like her.
So, as our stay progressed, we’ve neglected London’s A-list sights that we hadn’t seen. Instead we merely “tubed” to different neighborhoods in London, walked around, and explored. There might have been a plan to see this or that but that goal was quickly replaced by curiosity about what is around the next corner. We saw not what Rick Steves tells us to see but instead what our eyes and our canine led us to.
London is a great for purposeless wanderings. The city’s numerous neighborhoods seamlessly morph together. Curiosities abound in places like Little Venice and Paddington Basin. Yes, at times our random walks seem like a mission to find every one of London’s many council estates, the usually unattractive equivalent of the projects in the States. But with the ugly comes the good. We see lots of interesting intriguing places that we wouldn’t have known to find. Sometimes it is better to just explore.
London, it seems, was not a bad place to be stuck.