In February 2014, I took my first trip outside of North America, to London, England.
It was a 4-day trip (which really means two days if you factor in the travel time), and even though it was a business trip, we managed to fit in some sightseeing.
The first full day we were there, my colleagues and I visited about a half dozen health food stores, and I think we rode in 8 London taxi cabs that day.
One of the most memorable rides was with one cab driver who gave us a thorough description of what we were seeing as we drove, as well as some insider information on how the London Taxi Company operates their vehicles.
One thing to note about London is that it rarely snows or goes below freezing in the winter, so all these bicycles and scooters in the middle of February is not an unfamiliar sight. Occasionally, you’ll even spot the odd palm tree, here and there.
The second half of our day found us at Paddington Station, boarding a train to Reading, which is where our United Kingdom distributor is located.
Some might know the story of Paddington Bear who was discovered at Paddington Station by the Brown family. There’s even a Paddington Bear Shop where you can buy all sorts of Paddington Bear merchandise.
On the second day, we had time to do a bit of sightseeing. Probably one of the best ways to tour London at your own pace (well in our case, with only a morning to spare) is to hop on one of their many Double-Decker bus tours.
Although London is a very busy place, with lots of signs and roads that are not laid out in a grid like Toronto, one thing you can give them credit for is that they know how to use them. AND they’re polite! It’s very rare that you’ll hear car horns.
One of our cab drivers told us that if you lean on the horn in London, it’s considered to be extremely aggressive, whereas in big North American cities, aggression behind the wheel is commonplace.
During the bus tour, we stopped at Buckingham Palace, Tower of London and London Bridge. We also took a ride on the London Eye, which is the best way to get a photo of Big Ben.
While it was a short trip, I was fortunate to see so much and I would definitely go back.