Saturday, August 4, 2012

End of the Trip: Days 37 – 41 (July 29 – Aug 2)

End of the Trip: Days 37 – 41 (July 29 – Aug 2):

            We spent the end of our 41-day European cycling tour riding through the beautiful countryside of southern England and finally into London.  Some of the country roads were narrow enough that we pulled to a stop and pressed against the edge of the road to make room whenever a car passed.  Every so often, there was a pullout to the side to allow space for cars to pass one another.  If they met in the middle, one would have to drive in reverse until reaching a pull-out.  Those roads were often lined with tall hedges that opened up to offer lovely vistas of rolling farmland.  This made me want to spend a lot more time cycling in the UK.  Hmm, maybe on our next trip…
            We spent a night near the London Bridge and cycled all over the city, enjoying the energy pulsing through the town from the Olympic games.  I expected the streets to be overwhelmed with traffic jams and people, but London was surprisingly manageable – I suspect that many locals chose to work from home this week. 
            We cycled from the heart of London to Heathrow Airport, which is about 20 miles outside of town.  I feared that we would have to ride on dangerous roads with lots of traffic, but the entire route had either a bike path or designated bike lane.  A local bike shop disassembled our bicycles and put them into boxes for the return flight.  As Sho, Saya and I took a taxi from the shop to the airport, it felt strange to be inside an automobile.  Saya said, “I keep thinking we should ride on the bike path.”
            The taxi driver told me that his father is 105 and his mother is 97 years old.  I asked if he had to take care of them, and he said, “No, they are still healthy and quite active.  Each day, they walk a few miles to the farm where they work.”  He smiled at my amazed expression and said, “My dad told me that their secret is simple: they are active outdoors much of the day, and they don’t overeat.”  Hmm, maybe the secret to a healthy life is that simple.

Here are some pics:

“Medieval Saya” getting into the spirit of the Canterbury Tales:  

Sho and Saya with British Parliament in background:

Cycling through downtown London:

Sho and Saya piloting the flight from London to NYC:

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