We were so lucky this year to be able to visit England during (our) Thanksgiving week. Most places had their Christmas lights up already and shop windows were fabulously decorated. Having been to England a few times now and with an English husband, I didn’t tend to do a lot of typical touristy things – although we did visit the Tower of London as I hadn’t been there since 1993. Mostly we spent our time with friends or revisiting favorite spots and trying to savor each moment as the memories of this visit will come in handy when temperatures rise here in Sac in the summertime.
Some observations I made during the trip:
1. Keep a travel journal. I wish I had been better about this. I used to always journal on trips when I traveled solo. But now… not at all. I took a lot of photos and that helps a bit, but some written remembrances beyond “dinner at Angelsey Arms – soup excellent” would have been nice. The only written record I kept was of how much money I was spending – and that can get a bit depressing!
2. Everywhere they have tea – they have Peppermint tea. I love the ritual of tea, but not the caffeine, so I was very glad that most places offered at least Peppermint tea for me to drink. I put milk in it as if it were regular tea – tasted great. The other popular herbal tea was Lemon & Ginger. I liked that as well, but it’s quite feisty.
3. Get on the bus. I think the Tube is amazing. It gets you where you need to go and it really blows my mind to think about how many people those trains move around every day. This year we decided to supplement our Tube use with some rides on the city buses. It was so much fun, not that hard to figure out, and a great way to see the city – especially from the top deck! As much as we like to walk, sometimes it’s nice to hop on the bus to get to a tube stop or to get from a Tube stop to someplace not within walking distance (like the Geffrye Museum). Anyway, I enjoyed it. It can take longer than the Tube to get somewhere – depending on traffic, time of day, or where you are in the city.
4. Picnic in the square. One of my favorite lunches in London is a cheese/chutney or pickle sandwich from Marks & Spencer or Sainsburys, a bag of chips/crisps, and a lemonade… eaten on a bench in one of London’s pretty squares. We often do this if we are having lunch separately. For example, I went Christmas shopping on one day and he on the next. For him it was Cavendish Square and for me, Hanover Square. It’s amazing how quiet those little green spaces can be considering how close they are to the main avenues. Just don’t feed the pigeons.
5. Coat check. Since I don’t usually go to England in winter, I’m not normally hauling around a big heavy wool coat. But this time I was (plus scarf, plus umbrella sometimes) and all I can say is… how awesome is coat check? For $1.60ish, you can let the National Gallery deal with your cold weather wear, while you flit about the galleries feeling weirdly light and sweat-free. If we go in milder weather next year, I’m still going to coat check my cardigan.
Okay enough of that.. here are some photos!