...well, meridian-wise, anyhow. I fly out of Boston tomorrow evening at 7:00. Ironically, my carrier is Air Canada, and I'll be laying over in Halifax for a couple hours. It was a month ago exactly, I think, that I passed by the Halifax airport on a bus on my way to Cape Breton Island.
While technically my second visit to London and the UK, my exploration of the center of the "civilized" world will be much more thorough this time around. Here's what I'm looking forward to:
1. Seeing where all those New England town names came from
Portsmouth, Chichester, Gloucester, St. Albans, Bristol, Bath, Colchester, Worcester, Camden, Reading, Essex, Hampshire, Rochester, etc., etc. A mere 30-second perusal of the Southeast England map brings to the eye a host of familiar names. It really calls into question the creativity of those early Americans. I'm anxious to discover whether the original locales warrant all the homage.
2. Filling my belly with "abominable" British food
Ask anyone what they think of England and this stereotype is sure to top the list. But according to various sources, vast improvements have been made in recent years. I'm particularly eager to sniff out some hole-in-the-wall joints serving up Indian and other South Asian cuisine. Fish 'n' chips wrapped in newspaper is another must, and both of these options should be bugdet. In addition, Eva Holland pinpoints quite a few open-air markets in her article "How to Enjoy London on $100 a Day." Oh yeah, can't wait to sample some real English ales, as well.
3. Visiting the Celtic realms
Besides England, the two countries that make up the island of Great Britain are Scotland and Wales. I plan to travel to the capitals of both (Edinburgh and Cardiff, respectively) by car. The histories of all three nations, and how they relate to one another, are very intriguing, and I'm excited to learn more.
4. Exploring the big city on foot
The world's largest metropolises can seem quite intimidating, but I've found a great way to shrink them down to a comprehensible size: strike out on foot. Without fail, the primary areas of interest lie in the older districts, and by nature these are never very expansive. It's one thing to digest an urban landscape through its map, or to traverse its entirety by public transportation. But there's something about connecting individual locations with your own footsteps that really ties it all together in your mind. London, feel my boots!