If history speaks volumes the London sings in a wonderful chorus - or so it seemed today. Perhaps it was the unexpected blue skies and crisp early morning sun that cast a warm golden light over the vestiges of Empire and grand Victorian architecture; along the Mall and then Mayfair, past the apartments and embassies of Belgravia and Government offices of Whitehall.
All of this I observed huddled under the small canopy of our open-air red double-decker London tour bus...for in their ruthless efficiency at Singapore airport my luggage had been tagged all the way to Buenos Aires and swallowed by the giant baggage processor before I had a chance to retrieve my winter coat...
Other highlights on the early morning tour were: Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, The Globe Theatre, London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament - quite a whirlwind tour.
The warmth and unmistakable odour of the nearly tiled tunnels and caverns of the Tube provided temporary relief as we headed north to Camden Town - a mosh pit of grunge clothing and alternative handicrafts and brick a brac.
Curiously I quickly picked out a Saint-Exupery classic at a second-hand book store and then struck up a rather deep conversation about cricket with an Afghani merchant, whose countrymen seemed to dominate stall ownership here.
The highlight was seeing a houseboat lowered thru the water gates at Camden Lock - a fascinating process using working technology from the 17th century.
After defrosting with multiple hot chocolates and plates of soup and bread, we headed for London NW1 and Abbey Road, which gave us an entirely different perspective on life in London being a more "orthodox" residential suburb, albeit still relatively affluent.
We witnessed The Beatles' pilgrims outside the Studio and at THAT pedestrian crossing...then promptly joined in ourselves, marvelling at how ordinary it all was (the scene completely unmarked) and at how patient most drivers were given how often people posed in the middle of the road for THAT photo.
We ended our day (or night, for daylight ended at about 3.30pm) in Covent Garden where we enjoyed wonderful street performers and busking off-duty opera singers in and around the old buildings, all beautifully lit for Christmas.
Well, we're back at Heathrow and about to finish the last of our flights. Felix is asleep and Adam is roaming.