I approximately 24 hours, I’ll be stepping off a plane at Heathrow and rushing madly to see some of London before my connecting flight to Vancouver leaves in the early evening. I think I’ll probably only have about 3 and a half hours to see London, which I’m sure doesn’t give me much time to see very much. With the time constraints, it looks like I’m gonna shell out $100 for the express train that goes from the airport to Paddington Station near central London. From there, I’m really not sure what I’m going to do. It still seems like quite a haul to get to any of the attractions, so I imagine I’ll have to take “the tube” to go see something.
In terms of what I really want to see, I really am not sure. I’d like to take a ride on the London Eye, but if there’s any sort of lineup, I’m gonna have to just skip it entirely. St Paul’s Cathedral is high on my list too, as is London Bridge. I could probably live without seeing Buckingham Palace, but if I find myself near there, I’ll stop by. I debated taking one of those quick bus tours, but I think it’s a pretty impersonal way to see a city, and wouldn’t really allow for any good photos. I think I’d rather see a few less places but take more time to enjoy them. Westminster Abbey is a place I’d really like to visit as well. Buried there are a few people who have influenced my life to some degree, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ernest Rutherford and Sir Isaac Newton. Tower Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre are also pretty cool, and I’d like to check them out if I have time.
I’ve somehow adopted a weird schedule while out here.. I’ve been going to bed early and getting up early (like real early — today I was up at 5am). Funny thing is, I’m actually enjoying it. It’s pretty relaxing sitting in bed at 5am slowly watching the sun come up. I sort of meander down to the buffet room around 6:30am, have a coffee, eat some of my “super breakfast”, and then just chill out a while longer. I’m finding that by 10pm I’m pretty bagged and ready to go to sleep, but it’s a nice change from being up late all the time.
One of the interesting parts of the trip for me was viewing the work ethic of a European high tech company. In North America, we have this stupid idea that employees in high tech should work 50-60 hours a week at a minimum. That usually involves late nights and a few weekends here and there (or many in a row, depending on what’s going on). Out here, everyone works from 8-4 almost religiously. Ask someone to work the weekend, and they’ll probably smile and think you’re making some lame joke. How about vacation? Two weeks? Nope, more like six I think. I asked if any people ever work long hours, and was told that some people do — just the ones that are too junior or green to realize that it’s up to them to say no.
Funny thing is, they seem to get a lot done in the time they have. It could be because they’re rested, but it’s probably because they’re actually happy that they have a life and things to enjoy outside of work.
I have a flight tonight back to Helsinki, and my flight tomorrow morning is at 8am, putting me in London at 9:10am I think. Connecting flight to Vancouver is around 4:30pm, landing sometime around 7pm I think. That puts me home around 8pm, and drinking wine by 8:02pm roughly. What do I want to do when I get back in town? You’d be surprised, but I’m actually longing to go grocery shopping, and cook a nice meal at home.