Well hello there. This is London calling… kinda. Actually we’re in Bath at the moment, but this is me on the way to breakfast in Covent Garden, below, on our first morning in London.
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. This is a shot 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.