Aug 16, 2022: London, England. Tourists were already swarming Southbank as I started my morning Thames Run; I felt like a half-back, trying to hit a gap in the line just to gain a few yards.
“The Thames Shouldered its way past Blackfriars Bridge, impatient with the ancient piers, no longer the passive stream that slid past Chelsea Marina, but a rush of ugly water that had scented the open sea and was ready to make a run for it.”
― J. G. Ballard
Travel is Back
The memory of lockdown is fading, and the crowds are back. Jean and I stayed five nights on Southbank, near the Borough Market. Saturday morning, the sun shone fiercely in a hot sky, and the market as was as busy as we’ve ever seen it. Friendly locals chatted in the adjacent pubs while tour groups marched through the stalls like a ants, ambling behind flag-waving guides.
Along the Thames, shell games on the Westminster bridge draw the gullible into clusters, impeding the pedestrian flow on the narrow sidewalk and catching a few more marks as they tried to slip past. Selfie-sticks again flash in the sun, a hazard to the unwary. Yes, travel is back in London.
Running the Thames
I managed to shed (most of) the crowds as I moved away from the London Eye and Big Ben, and enjoyed sunny views over the river. My Thames run lets me revisit old friends – the Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Big Ben, and St. Paul’s. London, like all the great capitals, offers the extremes: great art and architecture, contrasted by and plenty of grit and trash. I love running (and visiting) here, and could happily stay for weeks. But I would not like living here I think.
Time to run along and continue The British Trip. Next stop: Cambridge.