Sunday, August 19, 2018

London baby!

I arrived in London on a Wednesday night, around 7:30 or 8, I arrived at Paddington staion and then took a tube to Russell Square. Upon leaving Port Issac, btw, I was up to 3 bags. what with shopping and souvenirs acquired at that point.  I brought a fold up nylon shoulder carry on bag in my other luggage. So with my 2 carry on bags and back pack.. I trekked on over to my hotel at Russel Square.  Russel Square is a beautiful park btw, and each night that I walked through it had groups of friends, loners, lovers, couples etc all sitting and laying around just enjoying the shade. wonderful!
I stayed at The Penn Club. It was just over $100 a night and had breakfast in the dining room included. I loved it. granted, it was with shared bathrooms down the hall, but I had a sink in my room. good enough!  my window opened right onto the front street. I slept with it wide open every night. The nice thing was this hotel had a fan! hamy first 2 nights were rather warm in the room but cooled off by morning, the last 2 nights it had cooled off from rain.
The nicest guy in the world named Greg checked me in and explained my key and the key to the door from the street etc. I unloaded my things and left the hotel with my phone and asking siri for directions to Piccadilly Square.. as I walked and roamed around I ended up near Leicester Square and for dinner I walked right into Five Guys burgers! ha! I had a hot dog and a chocolate shake. mmmm comfort food on vacation
I walked back to the hotel to CRASH and plan the next morning trip to Sussex south east of London.  THursday morning I was up and on a tube up to St Pancras station and got a ticket to Ashford International, waited just under an hour for the next train to Rye.  Once in Rye, I'd planned to take a bus over to visit Great Dixter Hall, and had about 45 minutes to wait for the bus to Northiam. I had quite a good time walking around this small coastal city. It was full of British tourists and families that had just gotten out of school for the summer holidays.  there was a church with a community sale going on, all sorts of garage sale items, books, crafts, etc.. and then I walked up and down the business strip , little places with clothes, souvenirs, chocolates, gift shops, etc

I made it to the bus and after I got off, walked about a quarter mile to the Great Dixter Hall and paid to go in looking and taking pictures of every inch of the beautiful gardens. got a snack and drink, checked out the little nursery there. walked back to town and stopped in at a bakery for sandwich and chips and brownie. mmm waited for the bus, by then it was 2:30pm.. half hour back to Rye, then had enough time to go back to the chocolate shop and buy two bags of Ruby Chocolate chips.  They are T my friend in AR, she is a baker and quite a foodie, and I can't wait to surprise her with the Ruby Chocolate not even available here in the US yet! ha
trained all the way back. I enjoyed having my cell phone with a data plan on the train. and they had plugins to charge on the train! in the states I don't use a data plan, just use my phone with wireless at work or home. back in London, I rested up a bit, cleaned up a bit, and then hit the town over to Picadilly circus again, this time I got there by night fall and enjoyed and took photos and looked at all the stores and shops. love it! ( I actually remembered and planned which shopped I'd like to come back to the next morning) I walked back a different route to my hotel each night.
Friday morning, I had tickets for Buckingham Palace tour and then Queen's gallery of Indian artifacts.  I took a different route over towards covent gardens and walked by a jewelry store and bought some earrings for my mom at Christmas. I went into a few other stores. I bought a shirt at Muji and another at Farrah. Made my way a bit late than the time on my ticket to the Palace and walked all through taking the tour with audio guide up through one floor, then the second, then out the back.  in the back yard they had a patio and deck set up with a garden cafe. it was so nice! I had lunch there and enjoyed the atmosphere before walking the trail out the side gate/wall north?  and walked back around to the queen's gallery entrance. Lots of cool stuff and stories about gifts from the Indians etc etc.  eventually I walked back towards the shops and looked around more and found a store Balfour that I bought a nice plaid blue/grey/black sort of shirt for work. I don't remember that night at the moment. I must have had a sandwich at Sainsbury, and I think I walked over to a street just west of Russell square and shopped in a store called Hemi which is sort of like a Dutch Flying Tiger store. anyway....
hmmm Saturday morning, tube all the way across town over to Kew Gardens!!  had a lazy morning getting over that way after breakfast, once I arrived I walked all over taking photos of all the gardens and green houses etc, had lunch at the Orangery Cafe, another beautiful set up and lunch.  walked all around after lunch and walked through a botanical print gallery, bought some gifts, saw the newly restored pagoda. walked back to the tram stop, back to London, I think I got back around 4? relaxed, cleaned up a bit and by 430 was back out to Shoreditch High Street in a snap. I wish I'd arrived earlier because all these market shops were just shutting down by 5:30... my destinations were stores like Jigsaw, which I loved, and Goodhood, which was way too funky and a miss for me, however I also found the Folk store and LOVED it too. I walked in and out of a J. Crew store. and laughed at myself, no I'm not shopping a J Crew store while in London!!! ha ha.
eventually it was after 6:30 and most stores closing up and I made my way back to the hotel. If I'm honest I spent the time that night ( and some Friday night) on a laptop on a desk in the hallway next to the kitchen door downstairs at the hotel grading papers online. I had to keep up and get stuff done with my summer class that I'd left a week early from for the trip.
spent the rest of my last night in London getting all 3 bags packed up, making sure all the things i'd bought were in my carryon bag in case I had to show anything while claiming my DUTY FREE taxes back at the airport ( they never asked for anything though). I was up Sunday morning, had a breakfast at the hotel, and then took the long hour long tube ride all the way out to Heathrow airport by 11 am, 3 hours before my 2pm flight.

let's get wet..................