My first instinct was to attempt to go back to my friend’s house in North Yorkshire, I just hadn’t felt like going around London to see the sights. It seemed like the wrong thing to do. Then late last night I decided that I had come all this way to see London, and I should at least walk around a little, even if being a tourist didn’t seem like the right thing to do the day after the explosions ringed us. What a surprise I got today!
London is almost back to normal. To be honest, if it weren’t for the fact that my hostel is surrounded by police blockades, there’d be no way to tell that anything out of the ordinary had happened. I must say this for London and the Londoners, to be carrying on life as normal was something that really impressed me and increased my respect for them. And I’m totally in love with the London police 🙂 In context, my hostel is a block from Woburn Place, where Bus #30 exploded yesterday morning, so to walk out of this neighbourhood one must explore streets that work around the blockades and police lines. In addition, Russell Square is 5 minutes away as is Euston Station. In other words, we just happened to be in the middle of it all in Central London. The police were there this morning with maps and giving directions how to navigate the maze both to locals and visitors alike. With smiles, winks and friendly nods. How can you not like them for that, and it says a lot about them, to be so friendly at a time like this. I can’t imagine this attitude anywhere else.
I finally reached the British Museum, hoping to finally catch the tour that I’d missed yesterday, when the "Original Tour Company" bus arrived. He said he was just a shuttle bus from the main routes as they’d cancelled their Central London sector but he’d drop me off at a point where I could catch the regular routes. When I finally caught the regular tour bus, they had a voice over you could hear by using headphones – overnight they’d changed it to say "We regret to say that our route has changed due to an incident yesterday so the regular commentary will resume after this detour". That’s it. Talk about the British reputation for understatement.
Throughout my day, whether at the Tower of London, listening to a Beefeater give us a guided tour, or later catching the #30 back to the hostel, at NO point did anyone ever bring up the events of yesterday. It was as though it hadn’t happened, and life was back to normal. Except for the fact that the #30 was the route which the double decker was running when it exploded and that today the bus driver just dropped us off at Euston Station and said he was going to go another way instead. There is security everywhere of course, but we had been given passes by the hostel that allowed us to walk back into the restricted area.
All I can say is that I’m overwhelmed by London and it’s police force, impressed by every individual who works with visitors, and my respect for the British and their crisis management system cannot be measured. If it weren’t for the fact that I can hear a helicopter right now and sirens blazing down every so often outside the window, there would be no way to tell by the city today that anything of note had occurred yesterday.