Up Your Nose and Flying Over the Thames

As I mentioned, travel into the UK requires a 2 Day Covid test that is prepaid. We trudged over near Waterloo station this morning for our test, fully unprepared for the line we encountered once we found the test site (which despite what the testing company said, wasn’t real close to Waterloo).

The line for Covid testing goes on forever…

We arrived about 40 minutes before our appointed time, but it was obvious a) We wouldn’t make the appointment time b) Neither would anyone else. While we were standing in line, I received an email apologizing for the delay. We registered for the lateral flow/antigen test. It took two hours standing in line for a 15 second “up your nose” swab. By the time we left, the line was twice as long and stretched up over the overpass overlooking the test site (that round building in the background). Results should be available within 1-3 hours, and aside from the results (negative) this was the only part of the company’s testing process that was accurate. We received our results in about an hour.

We were a bit exhausted from standing in line for so long, where the only amusements were watching the IMAX crew set up lighting for the UK premiere of the Eternals. We made our way back to Waterloo Station for a snack and the Tube Station.

Waterloo Station

From here, we wanted to go to Emirates Air-Lines , a cable car ride that goes over the Thames. The Tube took us out to North Greenwich and then we walked over to the Emirates cable car terminal. The Tube station is next to the O2 stadium.

Wow!, this is an amazing area, all modern buildings, nearby Canary Wharf.

O2 (you can walk up the top of the O2 stadium)

O2 Plaza

It’s a short walk from the O2 to the Emirates cable car station. Despite how long the line looked, it moved pretty quickly and we could watch the cable cars come in above us from across the river and go back out.

Emirates Cable Cars

Touch to pay means we didn’t have to buy tickets in advance (no worry, the bill comes later). There’s so much more use of touch to pay here than we find in the US; it’s literally everywhere. Each party has their own cable car, so no contending for space for photo ops! As the cars come in, slowly, the occupants get out and you get in (the car doesn’t stop) and soon you’re off moving out over the Thames with the O2 and Canary Wharf in the distance with spectacular views.

O2 and Canary Wharf

Once we “landed” we watched a guy waterskiing using a tow rope across the river from our cable car station. There were some jumps/ramps (some of which he made, and some he crashed) .

It was a bit of a short ride since we were only going one way, but really recommended! We took the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) back to the nearest Tube station and then changed lines several times to get back to the area of our hotel.

The City of London built the Marble Arch Mound, which adjoins the Marble Arch and is across the street from the Marble Arch Tube station. Supposedly, it was built to bring tourism back to the area “after Covid”, but, sorry, just not much appeal to me. Thankfully, it’s temporary.

I find face mask wearing on the Tube (supposed to be compulsory) , the percentage of people varies quite a bit from ride to ride, but relatively small percentages of people overall wear them. Obviously, the face mask police are challenged here. They’re required in public spaces in our hotel.

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