Leaving the 205 at Liverpool Street, I gathered my bags and headed for my other favourite bus in this part of London – the 23. Thankfully, it starts right outside the station, so I was not only assured of a seat, but one with room for my suitcase too. It’s an absolute bargain of a sightseeing tour as it passes through the City to St Pauls, up Fleet Street and past the High Courts, Somerset House and along the Strand to Trafalgar Square. It continues through Piccadilly, up Regent Street and Oxford Street to Marble Arch offering a perfect view of the Christmas lights and the wonderful shop windows, so lavishly decorated at this time of the year. The last stretch along Edgware Road isn’t so interesting but nevertheless, it’s a great spot for people watching and in my opinion, there’s no better – easier - way to get to Paddington. Patience is needed, however, because the traffic doesn’t always flow quite as smoothly as one might hope!
Unlike the regular passengers who spend their journey time on the phone or reading the newspaper, I’m always looking out of the window. As we passed the Bank of England, I caught sight of a familiar character through the stonework. I’d forgotten that there’s a Paddington Trail to follow and this young bear was clearly part of the fun.
Needless to say, I found another in the station which bears his name
For the next part of my journey, my ticket was a screen on my phone. I’d paid dearly for it this morning: it’s reputed to be the most expensive rail journey in the country, so when I saw it was very crowded indeed, I was determined I was not going to stand! Eventually, I found somewhere to sit, accompanied a firm but polite request with a hard stare and the young man moved his rucksack from the last remaining seat in the carriage.
The Chief Scout was waiting to greet me when I arrived at Heathrow!