Sunday, December 22, 2019

there and back............................. getting there.

Thursday December 12th, my last day of classes... I sit through my 8am and 9:30 am classes with no one showing up since we'd finished with all assignments on Tuesday that week. all papers had been turned in and handed back... so for my 1:30pm class I told them not to come and I headed back home by 12 noon and called an Uber ride to the airport by 1:15 pm..
(oh by the way, I finished writing a letter to my folks and left it to be mailed before I left)
I had packed one larger carry one bag with another bag inside, and I had my backpack packed also with everything I needed.  I planned it with taking 2 pairs of shoes ( one of them on my feet) and two days of things to wear.. anything else I wore on the trip was purchases there, ha!
let OKC 3:30 into Atlanta, left Atlanta around 8pm on our way to London, what fun... I had booked a window seat in the back on the left side of the plans and luckily no one next to me.  Once we got up in the air, I went to the restroom and changed into my pajama pants and slippers and put on my silencing headphones and prepared to fall asleep.  Over all the flight went well and I slept sort of off and on from what I recall. I recall trying every position possible with 2 seats, ha.
I changed before arriving by 10:30 and was out of the airport by 11:15 maybe? and then onto the Piccadilly line to Russell Square.  I had considered the express train into Paddington, but once you train there and switch to metro to Russell square it's the same amount of time, so Piccadilly line for one hour it was! I got out and walked over to the Penn Club from the Russell Square station.  It's a wonderful place to stay on a budget and so central to everything.  I left my bags stored while they got a room ready and left to a shopping center near to eat lunch and buy a SIM card to put in my cellphone. glorious! next back to hotel to charge the phone, get settled in, and then back out into the city walking down to Leicester square, then Covent Garden and onward to Piccadilly Square to take photos of all the lights on Regent Square.  I also shopped.
first stop was Rodd and Gunn, a store I've been to in Dallas and have loved the pant/jeans I got there. I bought another pair of jeans in London but a charcoal grey color ( they are like pants but a jean cut?).  anyway, they fit so GOOD and comfy and I had planned to get another pair and wear them on the trip which I did.  I also shopped a store a Swedish brand called A Day's March which I've followed for a while on Instagram.  I have a thing for shirt jackets and they sell a LOT of them.  Anyway I bought a nice dark charcoal grey wool one that zips up in front.  On the way home just before places were closing, I discovered a store called Gandy's near covent garden. They had such interesting style to their sportswear and good prices and good quality and really friendly service. I mean it wasn't super unique stuff, just basic sporty product at a good price and plus they give back to refugee camps for children who survive tsunamis. ( the owners survived one as a kid or something like that). anyway I went back there and shopped later in the week also.
slept so good Friday night in my place at the Penn club. It's the kind of place where you have your bed and a sink in your room, that's it.  shared bathrooms in the hall with toilet and showers.  I stayed on the 3rd floor ( which is really the 4th) and saved about $20 a night for having to climb up and down the stairs, ( The hotel is made up from old victorian housing ( maybe Georgian? I dunno).) anyway, works fine. they also serve breakfast every morning which is nice and there are always other travelers who you sit around and end up talking to since it's all one big table etc.
Saturday! more adventures... First stop was Folk men's clothing on Lamb street just east of where I was staying.  Also a book shop .. it was on my way to the Charles Dickens Museum. that was fun.  It's like taking a home tour of a period home from that time, but also with all the facts about Charles Dickens, his family, writing, and publishing books.  I got a souvenir copy of "A Christmas Carol" of course to read on the plane home.
after that I took a break at the hotel and then went back over near Camden street to shop a bit more, (I actually needed to do an exchange at the Day's March store. the zipper kept sticking when I put it on, and so I very nicely and kindly jsut asked them to check it for me and see if they were 100% satisfied with the zipper, and if not could I please exchange for another one. they did and it works much better, yay again!)  went to Liberty store and bought a Norse Projects wool hat. then near there a Harry Potter connected store called Mina Lima. owned by set designers from the Fantastic Beasts films.  I walked all over its 4 floors but then my phone died before I could take any photos.  I went to a cafe nearby and found a plug in for my phone and then after about 30 minutes went back.  I looked all around again, photos, and then purchased some things. guess what? the guy at the register said it must be my lucky day because I was the customer who got to see what was in that day's advent calendar! ha!! yay.. I took the slip of paper out of number and it said I got my choice of classic book over on such and such wall, a 25 pound value. wow. so cool.  I chose the one Alice and Wonderland because it's always intrigued me ( the books were special artsy editions with fold outs and maps and pop ups inside etc, but mines still wrapped. ;)  ).  wow I can't believe I won that.
I walked and walked and continued taking photos of Christmas lights and popping into stores..back to hotel and then out and south to Sloane street on my way to Cadogan Hall for a Christmas Cracker performance by the Philharmonic orchestra.  what a blast! such good music, some sing along, and some soloists also performed.I left afterwards and with a dead phone tried to find my way back north to a tube station. I ended up and the corner of Hyde park and found a metro back on my way to the hotel. whew!
Sunday! I had a lazy late morning and breakfast, then headed out on my way out to Shoreditch. the plan was to shop a bit but I ended up getting a bit lost on the tube ride over. I did find what I'd planned to and that is Columbia Road Flower Market. what a blast. it was FULL of people shopping for evergreen greenery and flowers and Christmas trees and wreaths. what a blast! and I took many photos (with good cameras, my phone died again on the way over while getting lost, ha).  I walked up and down the market and in and out of shops and had the best sausage roll for lunch , yum.
eventually I made my way back to the tube that took me to Liverpool station and then another and back to hotel to get ready for next destination, Wembley Park.  I did some laundry and got my bags ready for the trip Monday. then by 3:30 I was on a train on my way over to Wembley Park west side of London.  I got off the station there and walked to a pasta place for dinner, took lots of photos of all the lights there and then made my way to the long long line at the Wembley Arena for the Hillsong Christmas Celebration.  Hillsong is a huge Christian church music ministry.  The concert was AMAZING so full on over the top performances with choirs singing behind them, lots of sing alongs, etc.. fun!  hopped on a train by 9 so I coudl get back to London and in bed. whew! early flight MOnday.
First part of my trip went down very well, loved seeing it all at Christmas.


James Dwight Williamson said...

Such a smart time manager! I’m loving this story. Wish I could read your mind !

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your London trip. You pack so much into a short trip!
Maybe on your next visit you can take in a performace at the Royal Albert Hall.

Happy Christmas to you.🎄


d said...

I recommend seeing Harry Potter if you haven’t already. Just saw HP 1 n 2 on Dec 21st in SAn Francisco and it was better than I expected. Love the magic and set. Glad you are enjoying your trip and keeping the global economy going...ha. Hope your letter will be well received. Happy Holidays, Cheers, David

Anonymous said...

Dan, Although you buried the information at the start of this lovely account of your time in London, I congratulate you on finally writing and sending THE LETTER to your parents. I hope that they respond with love and understanding, as they should. Christmas Greetings and have a wonderful 2020. Roderick