I heard someone say “cheerio”- it’s a thing. It was not, however, prefaced with “pip-pip” which is potentially a verbal relic of British past- possibly akin to “the bee’s knees!” among other strange old sayings that no one even thinks about anymore. Or- equally as likely-“pip pip cheerio” was never a thing and we made it up. Either way, when I found out I could have a long layover in London on my way to Poland - I wanted to say that phrase loudly and happily. London is cool, I’ve never been, I want to see it. So when the flight attendant said “cheerio” to the captain as we left the airplane at LHR, I giggled. like really loudly. and after fielding about ten thousand questions at customs regarding my intentions for the little layover, I hopped on the heathrow express and popped out at Paddington square.
The Paddington station is beautiful
I'm ashamed to say I fudged my own research- straddling google searches with personal recommendations from friends and forgetting to find the in between. Heathrow Express IS the fastest way to town, and Buckingham Palace/Westminster Abbey ARE "in town" but they're not walkable from Paddington if you have a time constraint. So I hailed a black cab/ stood outside of Paddington and it just pulled up mostly.
Did you know that all cabbies in London have to pass a super rigorous test to drive the black cars? It's called "The Knowledge". This guy here told me all about it (maybe a little too much). But damn London. Putting us NYC yellows to shame with your mad skills.
Except only kind of, because my return driver. An old "proper type" Englishman-with no provocation whatsoever brought up and proceeded to profusely praise the current US president- using nearly the exact campaign verbiage. It was bizarre and maybe a little funny, hearing in his dignified old Queen's English say the words "I like President Trump, he's not a politician- he tells it like it is. He's doing what he can to make American great again". Like, in a British accent! Maybe his usual American clients are older finance types on business trips so that's his icebreaker? Maybe he wants London to "be great again" and he voted for brexit and wants the world to be white, eat potatoes and all the time? I don't know. Shortly after the strange silence left in the wake of that word-by-word worst campaign slogan ever repetition, his next topic of interest was vodka and how Russians are crazy for drinking it with water. Fine, I mean, I like vodka.
Buckingham, Palace is stunning. Translating this visually via photography, man, I tried from all the angles and distances but it wasn't happening. Was it the overcast weather, or my new camera I'm still learning to use? Or maybe it was just too damn crowded, and the place is just SO large that you have to back really far away to get it all. Regardless, I enjoyed my brief visit.
Buckingham Palace to Big Ben to Westminster Abbey, it was a nice little layover walk with some of the big London attractions
Amazing, amazing architecture all throughout the Westminster area. I want to see more of London someday, the energy was fantastic!
and, sideline shoutout to British Airways for this little family in their safety video:
and with that, we were on our way to Warsaw