Tuesday, April 12, 2011
England, part I
Several months ago, it became evident that our Spain trip would have to wait until the fall. Originally planned for this spring, husband's work got in the way. But with reasonable flights and an abundance of comp and vacation days, I emailed my wonderful friend Em and told her I wanted to visit. After we compared our calendars, planned around The Wedding, and checked flights, the trip was on.
I landed Thursday, March 31 and left on Wednesday, April 6.
I ate more than one lunch at Pret.
I drank beers in pubs.
I ate real fish and chips.
I accidentally tried to get into the drivers side of the car. More than once.
I ate Indian food for the first time.
I had high tea at The Dorchester.
I shopped at Liberty and Harrods, Old Bond Street and Regent Street.
I went to a play.
I walked through Green Park, around the Palace, by Big Ben and into Trafalager Square.
I wandered Oxford Street, Regent Street, Pall Mall, Charlotte Street, Soho, and Highgate.
I walked on a beach of the English Channel.
I found the pub that we went to while I was there for winter term in college.
I explored a few small English towns.
I got hit on by an older English gentleman, and the bartender, at the same time.
I toured the kitchen and met the executive chefs of one of the premier restaurants in England.
I reconnected with a great friend and got to know her husband a little better.
It was a fantastic week, and I can't wait to tell you all about it!
I arrived early Thursday morning. My flight was almost empty coming from Dulles - there were 50 people on the plane. It was so empty that we all fit on one bus at Heathrow to the main terminal. Immigration was simple, I withdrew some pounds and got a tube ticket. A quick wardrobe change and off to Leicester Square I went - suitcases and all. I had to change lines...and carry my extremely heavy bags up several sets of stairs...so many that I lost track. I'm not sure why there aren't more escalators in the tube! Thanks to the little orange man on Google maps, I did some research and knew right where I was heading. I popped out of the tube exactly where I wanted to be, right on Tottenham Court Road. Not having access to the smart phones that we've all become so addicted/reliant on was definitely a challenge. A good friend of mine works just up the street, and that was my first stop. We had coffee, wandered around the area, went in Liberty, explored China Town, Charlotte Street, had lunch at Pret and more. I was giddy the whole afternoon, enjoying the simple fact that I was in London! It had been 8 years since my last trip, and I certainly had missed one of my favorite cities.
With a little guidance, I got on the National Railway at the Liverpool station, heading towards Colchester and Em. After the 45 minute train ride and a bit of lift vs stairs confusion at the station, I found her. We went to her house, which is an adorable, quaint 4ish bedroom just outside of town. She made a great dinner, and joined by her husband D, we had a very enjoyable evening chatting and laughing.
Over the next 5 days, we explored small towns and the big city. There are more stories and lots of photos to come!