For my last day in London I again had Laura as a wonderful tour guide who suggested taking a cruise on the river. There are very reasonably priced City Cruise river boats that go between Greenwich (of mean time fame), the Tower Bridge, The Eye, and Westminster. We picked up a 24 hour hop on hop off pass and got on the boat to Greenwich. The guide was great, telling us about all the local pubs on the riverside, the house prices, and history of the area.

We stopped for all of 15 minutes in Greenwich before jumping back on the boat back west towards Westminster. About an hour later we were outside Big Ben and the London Eye. The security at Westminster is extremely high, and as much as I wanted to climb Big Ben, apparently you need to be a UK citizen, get approval from a legislator, and schedule things 6 months in advance (aka it’s not happening).

We started walking towards Euston Station and past a number of remarkable buildings that – if located in Seattle – would be one of the coolest places in the city, yet beneath Big Ben, tends to be overshadowed (literally and figuratively). Running a bit short on time, we jumped on the Underground and took the subway to Euston. I said my goodbyes to Laura who had been an amazing tour guide. She’s a great girl who hopefully I’ll see again soon either in Europe, or back in the states.

I hopped on the 5:00 train to Manchester, and at 6:45 was picked up at the train station by Anna Conrad-Smith. Anna is a great college friend from Wales who studied abroad at the UW business school in 2009. We met up again in 2014 when she and her friend Emily Bruce took 6 months to travel the world, and I was able to play Seattle tour guide. For what it’s worth, that makes 3 girls in the last 5 days who I’ve played Seattle tour guide for, returning the favor. I certainly never expected to cash in all at once.

Anna works in Macclesfield, but ~5 months ago moved in with her boyfriend Simon in Timperley. Like with Vojta before, Simon was very welcoming and a great host – happy to welcome a guy his girlfriend knows from college into his home for a few days. I’m seriously so appreciative of the red carpet treatment I’ve been getting, and the warm welcome from strangers.

Back at Anna and Simon’s, Simon made chorizo risotto, and we stayed up late chatting and enjoying a drink. After Anna and Simon went to bed, I took a shower and then booked my hostel for Lisbon starting on Monday!

Tomorrow Simon is working, but Anna and I will explore around town!

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