...is a phrase you'll learn very quickly if you ride public transport in London. Since I've been back I've been thinking about English composers, and Gordon Jacob came to mind pretty quickly. Born in London, Jacob is well known for his wind compositions, and one of those pieces is a solo, five-movement, unaccompanied bassoon piece called "Partita for Solo Bassoon". I played this piece on my last jury during undergrad, and I thought I might dig through my library to refresh my memory of this piece. As I played through the movements, I was reminded of some of the moments of our vacation, so I've recorded each movement so that you can have a glimpse of what we experienced! Although not every one of our fun-filled events has a musical counterpart in Jacob's piece, it's fun to think about some of the more questionable parts of the holiday.
Getting through Heathrow airport on Boxing Day is no easy task. We were constantly bumping into people, fumbling with bags, and trying to figure out why the metro card machines weren't taking Discover. Our visit to London started out, in a word, clumsy.
A friend of mine suggested we visit the Camden Marketplace. While we found our way back to this area later in the trip during a more appropriate time, our first visit was late at night, when really sketchy people were out and about. That coupled with signs that read "Thieves working this area - BEWARE!", I can't say I was very comfortable in this area at such a late hour.
Andy and I have visited enough large cities around the world to understand public transportation, for the most part. That doesn't mean we weren't running for our lives to catch an approaching bus and train at times! We always got where we were going, but not for a lack of hectic effort!
Considering the current weather I shouldn't be saying this, but London was SO COLD! We'd often go into a drug store or souvenir shop just to thaw out a little. On New Year's Eve we decided to go to a dive gay bar on the outskirts of town, but we were an hour too early. I found a nice man to chat with, who was also waiting to go into the bar, but it didn't change my body temperature...
After a week of fun, food, and beer, it was time to go home. We weren't completely sure if we would catch our flight or not, but we did our best. Sitting on the bus and riding the tube, hoping it'd just go a little faster, didn't help of course, and the running through the terminal didn't seem to do anything either. We got to the gate just in time to board, and snickered at the idea of having been just a few minutes later, keeping us in London for another day. This was the perfect end to a wonderful time.