Around this time last year I was writing up my first whirlwind weekend in London, and here I go again. I left behind the cool and rainy East Coast and flew straight into a heat wave – four days of sun and high temperatures. I can’t get enough of this city. Every time you turn a corner, there is something new to see, always beautiful and rich in history. And of course, there are the old favorites that are a must-see on any trip to the city.
My plan was to take the overnight flight to Heathrow, knock back a couple of those mini bottles of Chardonnay, and drift into unconsciousness over the Atlantic so I would be rested in the morning. That is not what happened. I was wide awake the entire flight and a complete mess Thursday morning! AR took me straight home and put me to bed – the proper place for me since I could no longer string words together coherently. Once I regained some control over my thoughts and body, we hit the streets, walking from the new downtown apartment in Canada Waters up along the Thames where we stopped for a quick beer and on to the Tower Bridge for an ice cream. That doesn’t sound healthy at all, but we earned the calories with the walk! It was wonderful to wander at leisure and then catch the Tube home in time to watch the sun set on the rooftop and then to make a curry for supper.
Friday was another day of walking, this time from Canada Waters down along the Thames to Greenwich, where we wandered through the Greenwich Market – a covered marketplace with vendors selling all manner of crafts – and stopped for a pint at a pub. Lunch was fish and chips, served piping hot and wrapped in paper. To allow time for digestion, we took a boat up the Thames to the Houses of Parliament. I love being on a boat, and this was such a great experience. The tour guide was funny and it’s really such a unique way to see the sights. We disembarked and walked over to Gordon’s Wine Bar where we were lucky enough to snag an outside table. It really is one of the best places for people watching, the wine is delicious, and the cheese selection is unparalleled. The evening was a quiet one. We watched Syriana – either I was too tired or it was too complex, but I’m still not really sure what it was about.
Saturday was one of my favorite London days. AR and I went to the British Museum, with hundreds of years of history packed into a stunning building. One of the best parts of colonizing most of the world is that you end up with some really cool stuff! The museum map highlighted 100 pieces of history and art that took us three hours to hunt down and check off the list. It was so much fun – a little like a treasure hunt – and even though it was mentally and physically exhausting to find and take in these 100 objects, it gave structure to the experience which I really appreciated.
Somehow, after all that, I found the strength to go shopping. Is anyone surprised? I ended up with a dress and a tunic from French Connection – two of the most beautiful pieces of clothing I own – and we went home for a well-earned rest. The rest was not to be long, however, as we had dinner plans with S and K. We headed over to Covent Garden and met S for a drink at the Crown Pub. Then we went next door to Souk Medina, a North African restaurant, where K joined us for dinner, drinks, and an impromptu belly dance. Well, to be fair, the naturally composed Brits stayed in their seats while the naturally wild American got up and shook it for all she’s worth. We ended the night in an adorable little wine bar called Cork & Bottle in Leicester Square, and then called it quits. Sunday morning found me back at the airport, very sad to be leaving after such a short visit.
Even a year later this city and what it represents absolutely fires my imagination and makes every day experiences feel like an adventure. May I go back now please?