So today (Saturday) we embark on our longest journey without actually being on a formal tour. The Tube, which is both very near to the hotel and very convenient to use for getting around London, has for us, been limited to single line junctions. This time a change from one line to another is in order. (This entire trip has certainly been one of ‘firsts’.) Not that changing lines is a big deal, it’s just somewhat unfamiliar territory. In addition, the second line takes us down, ultimately, to a 5th level underground. Don’t need an earthquake today, please.
As many times as Venice, Italy, has welcomed us with open arms, it never gets boring. With that in mind, it seemed only proper to visit London’s Little Venice. Very aptly named due to the canal that winds its way a little north of Paddington through an alluring little tranquil neighborhood.
A walk along the canal here is both doable and enjoyable from a things-to-see-and-do perspective. However, by now the thought of putting on even more miles-by-feet while still trying to fight off an illness seems counter-productive. This is re-enforced by the rather timely appearance of canal boats. (Are you sensing a theme to this entire vacation by now?) Floating is much more desirable than walking (at least for the time being).
Being a little early to catch the next boat available allows enough time to explore at least some of the canal by foot without that becoming too much of a challenge. A stroll down both sides of the embankment (crossing small bridges again akin to the Real Venice) reveals yet another different life style.
On one side of the canal, many long, narrow boats are moored that are, without doubt, personal habitations. They are given ‘visitor moorings’ that are free for up to 7 days with a £25 per day charge after that. In some cases there are 2 parked side-by-side which is an allowable limit as well.
On the other side, there are more permanently affixed dwellings/restaurants/bed-and-breakfast facilities. These are limited to only one abreast. Needless to say, one side of the canal has a decidedly more upscale appearance than the other. The canal is still wide enough to accommodate 2 tour boats passing each other while ferrying their clientele back and forth.
Our tour boat has now arrived and on we board. A completely full and understandably noisy (given the close quarters) voyage down the canal allows no ability to hear anything that is explained over the intercom, but it is doubtful that the information is crucial. The sights along both sides are enough to keep everyone happy.
In about an hour we arrive at the end, which in this case is Camden Lock. Guess where it’s located? In Camden Town, which is in the borough of…Camden. It is also home to the Camden Market. It would seem if you’re headed to Camden at all, specifics aren’t really necessary.
Today is without doubt the most weather-enjoyable day we have had this entire trek. The skies are clear blue, the temperature around 23c and almost no wind. As luck would have it, this makes for the best day to be at this location. Apparently most of London thinks the same way, as the crowds here are reminiscent of WEM on the last Saturday before Christmas.
Street food, souvenir vendors, retail shops and outlets, and foot traffic congregate to form a population that swells and shrinks, breathing life and frenzy into the area. A full day or more would be better suited to truly experience this distribution of vitality. If you’re in London and the weather is acceptable, make a point of coming here.
Another full day somewhat behind us and health still partially an issue, the Tube is located and our hotel returned to. Maybe I can catch up, even if not completely.