The Toronto Effect / The London Cure
It's 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon. We've just stepped onto a plane that feels as laid back and unassuming as the emblazoned in orange bear the wing, Easy Jet. Chris is across the aisle, gathering the news from two bubbly young Americans. They have been studying in Europe for months and just paid for their little lunch with a shiny American Express. I'm smiling, thinking of how I probably thought American Express was a railway company at the tender age of 20. I have the pleasure of sitting next to a reserved British couple, heavily immersed in their grainy murder mysteries and cheerfully drinking strawberry cider. I offered them a chocolate when we boarded. They kindly refused my offer so Chris and I ate the whole bag ourselves. In four hours we will land on the tiny Greek Island of Santorini. If you drive from Branch to Angels Cove, you'd have driven the equivalent length of Santorini. The little island is rumoured to be warm, volcanic and lined with craggy cliffs that offer a striking view. Something tells me this place will be spilling over with stories. The first leg of our journey has begun aptly on what has been aptly called the "most joyful day of the year" for Christians Easter Sunday. We flew from St John's to Toronto and then later that night, from Toronto to London. As excited as we are about these adventures, there is something about Toronto. As we approached that tangly city, its landscape so determinedly defined by high rises and anonymity, the heavy feeling of lonesomeness that strikes me is remarkable. Flying over the Alps, no problem. Landing in Florida, best kind. But the feeling that we are as far away as we have ever been that washes over me at the sight of Toronto is unwieldy. We left TO on Sunday night and Monday brought us to the fair city of London with its massive cathedrals, historic bridges and of course, beloved royals. We walked and walked and walked, determined to soak in as much as we could in a single day. 19 000 steps later, we had visited the Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Westminster Cathedral, Big Ben, Whitehall Gardens, eaten hearty meat pies at an old English pub and drank enough tea and coffee to rival the murky waters of the Thames River. Yet the most astonishing sight of all remains the Westminster Bridge. Only a month ago this plain stretch of road traversing the Thames was entrenched by panic as a vehicle drove into throngs of sightseers and Britons alike. Yet today, the crowds were as thick as ever. While the flowers placed on the side of the bridge act as a memorial to those who died or were injured that day, the presence of people from all cultures, all walks of life simply enjoying an Easter Monday out and about is a memorial in itself to how in the end, peace always prevails. Off we go. Stay posted.