The whole time we were in London, I kept staring at the Thames, studying it, trying to decide what it would be like to paddle it in a kayak.
My conclusion: fun but scary.
The Thames is narrower than the Hudson, where I usually paddle, and in many places the banks are fortified with smooth stone walls. There’s nowhere to get out of the traffic — and there’s TONS OF TRAFFIC, much of it in the form of swift-moving pleasure boats and commuter vessels. They create wakes that bounce off the walls and each other, which makes the water delightfully choppy but a bit chaotic.
At any rate, I wanted to get on the water somehow, so on our last day I treated myself to a ride from the London Eye to the Tower on a cheezy tourist boat.
I was hoping to learn a thing or two from the tour guide’s patter, but the top deck was so crowded I had to squeeze in along the railing, above the engines. Between the roar of machinery and the gusty wind, the narration sounded something like: “London’s oldest rail bridge …. 3,500 years …. Not sure what a carbuncle is but they say there’s a giant one over there … commemorating Lord Nelson’s victory …” and so on.
I can’t complain about the un-Londony blue sky, though …
or the views.