We weren't orginally planning on visiting England because there are just so many places to see in Europe and it simply didn't make the cut. Like most of the plans we make however, this too was quickly changed and we scrapped our previously scheduled time in Belgium for a week in London.

Of course we knew the Olympics were in London this summer. But that they began the day after we arrived was, I embarrassingly admit, news to me. This clearly explained the difficulty in finding a couchsurfing host or decent hostel. In any case, we managed to find a reasonably priced place – a tiny, crammed, dysfunctional space with a slight odor (oh the joys of hostels).

We didn't go see any Olympic events, but we did manage to run into the route for the road cycling just as the athletes went by. There was also an excellent (and by excellent, I mean mediocre) Olympic festival at Hyde Park. I think after a few years in Chicago, you experience some amazing festival life. So I'll try not to hold it against London.

I think the best part of our time there, aside from experiencing the great sights, was doing everything without the challenge of a language barrier. After traveling for a few months without knowing the local language, it was actually strange to just walk up to someone and speak English. Quite the relief!

(click here for photos)