Around London in 80 days
In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.
And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.
Day 22 : Lost
“What happens in Canary Wharf stays in Canary Wharf” says my friend as we run like lost souls through the glass corridors of this futuristic part of town.
With its tall towers and endless underground connections, Canary Wharf sure is a strange place ; very different from the better-known “Old London”, it features a lot of public art, modern public spaces, strange-looking new builds, a floating railway station, and the Museum of London Docklands (which I would argue is the more interesting branch of the Museum of London, with exhibits about the history of the Docklands and thought-provoking displays about the slave trade).
Taking its name from the sea trade with the Canary Islands, the Wharf is an increasingly important financial centre in London. It is thus mostly made up of offices, although new developments are trying to attract new residents. And as everything is tall and new and rather similar-looking at first glance, it is easy to get lost.
Which is what my friends and I discovered on our first visit. Innocent trainee tour guides, we had been exploring the place, but when the time came to get back to the tube station… everywhere looked the same ; we were going ’round in circles, trying different directions only to find ourselves right where we had started — a true Groundhog Day situation. Oh the shame ! Future tour guides getting lost… but then again, isn’t this the best way to learn ?