Wednesday, October 11, 2017

London Calling

Well hello there. This is London calling... kinda. Actually we're in Bath at the moment, but never mind. This is Elizabeth and me at Trafalgar Square, below, on our first morning in London.



But I'm getting ahead of myself. We landed unscathed at Heathrow a week ago. Thanks to the ministrations of Catherine my lovely physio, and some very clever heat patches applied to my lower back and across my shoulders (one secured with the assistance of a helpful fellow traveller in the washroom at the Ottawa airport), my back was good when we arrived. And it's been pretty good ever since. The decision to bring a knapsack instead of a "weekender" as my carry on was a good one. Or will be once I remember that it's there and stop turning around precipitously, knocking unsuspecting fellow travellers in the head. Oops. 

So London. We walked. And walked. And walked. Our hotel was in Covent Garden and could not have been more central. 






The Fielding Hotel was located on a pedestrian court, just past this row of red phone boxes. They're adorable aren't they? We were a two minute walk to Covent Garden Market where we had breakfast one morning, and where I bought a gorgeous leather cuff from a local jewellery maker. Most evenings we ate dinner close to our hotel, which was no hardship since we were spoiled for choice of restaurants. So we had pub food one night, mushroom and steak pie and a pint. Italian another. And, on the third night, a Greek feast, similar to tapas only with small plates called "mezes." We chose a set menu, which was delicious. I never knew hummus could taste so good. 


Besides eating and walking. We toured the Churchill War Rooms. Looked briefly at Buckingham Palace. Hiked over the river to see the Globe Theatre. And saw Agatha Christie's long running play "The Mousetrap."



We dedicated one afternoon to shopping. After lunch we made our way down Oxford Street and over to Marlebone High  Street. Eventually. Actually we walked and walked and then with the help of a friendly waitress in an outdoor cafe realized that we had overshot the street we wanted by many blocks. So by the time we found a perfectly lovely area, I didn't really have much energy to try on clothes. Ah well, it was a lovely area, as I said.




Our last day in London we took high tea at the Hotel Cafe Royal. Bit pricey, but worth it just to say we'd been there. The surroundings were fantastic. So opulent. The food was wonderful. But, talk about sugar overload. And no need for dinner that night. We took a little bag of nicely packaged treats back to the young desk clerk at our hotel. Hope he enjoyed his coffee break that evening. 


Then, on Monday, we packed up and headed for Eastbourne, where Elizabeth planned to meet an elderly uncle and his granddaughter. Me... well... as it happened, I opted out of their plans. It seems life and fatigue had caught up with me.  On our last day in London I was really tired. And pretty teary when we finally arrived in Eastbourne. I had a bit of a meltdown and then begged off. I simply felt that I couldn't manage an evening of cheery conversation with strangers. So, instead, I took a long walk along the seafront, picked up take-out at Tesco's, and spent a quiet evening in our B&B room with my book. Sigh. Just what the doctor ordered. And Elizabeth and her uncle and her cousin had a great evening, so we were all happy. These are two of the shots I took on my late afternoon stroll in Eastbourne.  Moody skies and sea mists were just what I needed. 


Travel is, as we've discussed here recently, such a privilege. And I'm very lucky to be able to pick up and go where I choose. When I choose. But besides being fascinating, entertaining, and enriching, it can also be exhausting, stressful, bewildering at times, and utterly draining. And this trip is bit of all of that for me. Poor Elizabeth is not getting me at my best, which is hard for her because she'd been looking forward to this trip too. 

So now we're in Bath. I do think we've weathered the storm.  And Bath is exactly as I would have wished. Truly. So, so beautiful. 

But I guess I'll leave our adventures here for another time. 



I apologize if this post turns out a bit wonky with respect to format. Our hotel wifi connections have been so unpredictable that I'm writing this on my phone. I know that makes the pictures way smaller than I'd normally use, but I'll correct that when I get home. And I'm hoping that auto-correct doesn't put words into my mouth. So to speak.





Joining up with #SaturdayShareLinkup and

Two Traveling Texans

15 comments:

  1. Glad to hear that you are having a good time and that the back is doing so well. Travelling can be exhausting when we try to pack a lot in. You have certainly brought back a few memories. Thanks for finding the time to post.

    Christy

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  2. Yes , travel is tiring especially the way you are doing it - there's a lot going on , I've seen your instragram . Perhaps that's why a lot of folk opt for a cruise when they get older . No , not for me either but Ive learnt to accept my limitations . Taking to your room with a good book is just the right thing to do . Recharge your batteries then off again . On our Scottish holidays there's lots of relaxing mixed in with the touring & walking . When I'm abroad with my sisters we fill the days but after our evening meal we read & relax on an evening . You do look to be having a smashing time - loved the cheeky seagull .
    Wendy in York

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  3. There must be books ... then the ruffled feathers get 'gruntled'.
    I saw the Mousetrap about 40 years ago (!!) and my mother had seen it when it was new.

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  4. It's no wonder you needed a recharge, holidays can be full on and back pain doesn't help matters. Shame I missed you in Eastbourne. Had no idea you were heading down here but I was away till Tuesday evening as we'd been up to London for a few days. But sounds my visit wouldn't have been welcome when you needed that book and bed time so badly.
    Enjoy the rest of your adventure, hugs, x.

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  5. Travelling could be very exhausting. To much of good things could be simply....too much :-)
    A little break now and than could help
    I've learned (and am learning still) how to adjust my limitations and still have fun travelling. And I have a lot of breaks that are usually even more fun than chasing places or shopping
    There was a beautiful post by Duchesse recently about this topic
    I'm so glad that you're enjoying your trip all in all (and have found time to write here)
    Dottoressa

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  6. Delighted to hear that your back is holding up under the stresses of a long flight and a great deal of walking. A solitary few hours is a necessary thing to 'recharge the enthusiasm batteries'...hope that beautiful Bath continues to provide soothing moments as it is a place of wonderful history and gorgeous architecture. Enjoy each day in whatever way brings you contentment and happiness...we leave for London and Wales on Monday and hope that the weather is not too variable as it makes packing into one suitcase more challenging. Cheers, Alayne

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  7. Glad you are enjoying the visit so far. And Bath is glorious, especially at this time of year. I have been meaning to see The Mouse Trap for forty years but, so far...hope the back holds up and you can be soothed by mellow stone walls and stunning sunsets. And the Roman baths by twilight. Perhaps you could slip into the warm waters and bask.

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  8. Ah yes, the wonder, the priveledge and the exhaustion of travel! We have learned to build in the occasional "vacation from our travelling day" (or days) into our travel schedule. For example, on our recent trip to France, we were in Normandy and after two days of seeing historic sights, I wrote in my journal ..... "what do I need next? Green vegetation, puttering around, a relaxing country-side explore, time to reflect."
    That led to a memorable day with a slow start, following tiny back lanes in our rental car using Google Maps, happening upon a convoy of a dozen Citroen 2CV's on a rally, stopping for tea in a tiny village, and then relax time back at the gite and a long walk. One of the most memorable days! Refreshed and ready for the next adventure---shrugging off the "shoulds".

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  9. Typical of your thoughtfulness that you'd be worrying about Elizabeth, but I wonder if she might be glad that you're okay taking the time you need to be on your own and sort through the range of feelings you must be processing after that big loss you've so recently experienced. It sounds as if you're still managing to cover considerable ground -- at least, you're posting some gorgeous pics here and on IG. I'm glad to hear that you're taking care of yourself and still managing to get the most out of this long-planned, much-anticipated trip. xo

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  10. Glad to hear you are enjoying your holiday. Very wise of you to recognize your need of a break, sometimes that is not easy to see.
    Taking time for R and R is a great idea, and also having some separate time is smart on holidays or anytime really. My husband and I usually have a least one day doing "our own thing" during vacation (sometimes 2 on a longer trip). Could be reading, resting for one and shopping for the other, or a sport event vs the ballet... meeting up for dinner describing our day....all good.
    Thanks for taking the time to post this!
    Suz from Vancouver

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  11. Sounds like you did London up properly, a slight collapse after that would be wholly expected, given what you've been through these past months. I am sure Elizabeth is fine and happy, and I really appreciate you sharing this with us. Traveling with someone who is not a spouse does require these fine calibrations around Together and Not Together. I think you are so thoughtful about it, and I hope the rest of your trip is a pleasure.

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  12. So happy to see your pictures and hear your back is holding out! I had to take a trip 2 weeks after my brother died, with his oldest daughter, and another niece and nephew and it was hard. We went out to Yellowstone and yes, a privilege, but when one has been through a lot, emotional. I am glad you had some downtime. We are headed on a cruise through the new locks of the Panama Canal with our 84 year old fathers and younger moms, a sister of my husband's and her husband. We don't get a long. It will be great memories with our parents, but my dad was just diagnosed with cancer and had surgery a month ago and has further treatment ahead so we know this time with them is precious. We don't take our privilege for granted. Traveling mercies!

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  13. I'll add my good wishes to your back staying OK, Susan :)

    ...and give my regards to the Poms !

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  14. I love Covent Garden area, you are right you could not get anymore central. So how was the Mousetrap? It is really amazing it has been running so long! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  15. Ah so you saw the Mousetrap! How did you like it? I'm a big Agatha Christie fan so it was one of the first things I did on my first trip to London :) And yes, there's definitely something to be said for slowing down and taking some time off to unwind if you need to. I've done that plenty of times myself. No shame in that! ;)

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.