So you’ve had just over one long week of silence, you lucky things, but now I am back! How was your week? I hope you all had as much fun as I did, and filled your time with sunshine-y things and crazy adventures.
Speaking of adventures, I would like to share my last week with you, if I may, little by little over the next few days.
Shall we begin? For now, at least, we are LONDON BOUND.
It was Monday morning at an excruciating 5 a.m. that le man and I had to awake for our coach to the capital. Despite my grouchiness and determination to never ever move one inch from my bed, Sam was especially excited.
Didn’t I warn you we’d be dressing the part of Tourist?
The first thing that really hits you in London is the sheer volume of people. The moment we were off the coach, it was so much more crowded. It wouldn’t matter where you were or where you were headed, you couldn’t walk there without being buffeted along by a horde of strangers.
This worked well enough for us, as we were quite nicely buffeted along to Buckingham Palace, where we sat in the park with a picnic and took the obligatory photos of…
…the Palace gates…
…us in front of the Palace…
…and, of course, the Palace Guard (who I thought looked like such a lonely thing. Look at him, all tiny and red in front of his little fake Tardis).
It goes without saying that we spent a vast amount of time debating the likelihood of the Queen sitting just out of sight of the windows, licking the back of stamps as she writes to people turning 100.
It was a royal way to pass the time.
After a long, slow amble down the tranquil (for London) St James’ Park, we came face to face with a riot. Not the foggiest idea what it was about, but there was a lot of shouting and police and giant horses trotting in front of lorries, causing a lot more shouting. It was intimidating, surrounded by a large group of men, red in the face and spitting their rage at passersby. The pavement was choked with protesters and curious tourists marveling at this open display of hatred, but all I wanted to do was leave. This was the London from the news channel, the scary London rife with political rifts and outraged public, not the London I had come here to show Sam. This was the London that made me feel very far from home, and not in a good way.
So we quickly left, heading instead for an exploration and sit down in the sun at Somerset House.
It was a truly glorious day, as you can see. The sun was shining, the sky was clear, the courtyard was littered with university students reading their literature or sketching the families playing in the fountains. It was the kind of peaceful moment that you want to cup in the palm of your hand and never let go. A bubble of happy in the sprawling, sweaty mass of London. And I was with the man I love, which helped, I guess.
After an exhausting day, we ambled back along the Thames and headed for the hotel. We were staying in the Tower Hotel, which turned out to be very posh. Across the road from the Tower of London, right on the river with the Tower Bridge practically on top of it, we laughed at how common we felt as we zoomed up to the seventh floor in a mirrored box of a swift and silent elevator.
We spent the evening in St Katherine Docks, which we had a view of out of our window. It’s a really lovely pocket of London, full of quaint yachts and old boats, and a smattering of restaurants with a range of foods.
To end our day, we took a quick walk along the Tower Bridge. Although I had seen it when I was younger, I hadn’t remembered it at all, so it took my breath away the first time I saw it again. It quickly became my favourite spot in London over the trip. I took hundreds of photos of it at various times of the day, my mouth frothing with excitement and architecture-love as I gushed at how different it was when the sun was at this or that angle.
Day One was over. We had been up for 19 hours, we were in a crisp, posh hotel room with a softly lit view of the docks, and we had the prospect of a truly cosmopolitan breakfast the next morning in one of the most posh Starbucks we had ever seen.
Right, in that moment, life was sweet.