Monday, December 30, 2019

final winter 2019 travel journal.....

When I got back to London, the bag I'd left was in my room waiting for me, and I had the 2 bags I brought back with me from Copenhagen.  I got things unpacked a bit and arranged into my new room. For the last two nights at The Penn Club, I decided to pay the extra $20 a night for a room on a lower floor ( the actual 3rd floor).  I relaxed a bit and let me phone charge and then at some point after 11am made my way east towards the Postal Museum.  I paid for admission and shopped and looked around. In the basement there is an opportunity of taking a ride on the old cargo trains under the city.  These are fitted with little benches for seating and now take passengers back and forth with a guide explaining how it all worked and the history of it etc...  really enjoyed that!  there were many other exhibits to see after the ride, and then across the street the other part of the museum which had history of the postal service in England displayed and with a museum cafe connected.  I stopped there for lunch and wrote a few postcards. I also bought stamps at a machine in the gift shop.
Next I made my way to the nearest tube station and went over to Barbican stop.  This was a destination for architectural interest, and so I made my way to the Barbican Centre apartments and buildings and took many photos The complex is pretty much right there when you come out of the subway. Afterwards I made my way back towards Russell Square to relax in the room and recharge and make plans for Wednesday night.  I'd already bought a ticket months earlier for a Christmas concert at the Saint Martins in the Field church.   I forget what I did for dinner, but I must have popped into somewhere for chips and a sandwich now that I think about it.... I decided to walk all the way down to St. Martins by way of the seven dials. what a wonderful walk, I took my time seeing this and that, popping in and out of stores at will and eventually making it to the cathedral in time to collect my ticket and find my seat.  It was a really nice concert with sing a long carols, of course, too.
Afterwards I checked out Trafalgar Square, shopped the Christmas market there, bought some cards and some ornaments and souvenirs for family.  It was quite wonderful with the on and off light rain, all the lights on the square, the fountain lit and running, and a group of carolers under umbrellas singing away at the bottom of the stairs to the national gallery. I made my way up to Leicester square and then over to Fortnum and Mason store to take more photos and go in and see all the goodies there. although I didn't buy anything. By this point in the trip I wasn't feeling confident about room in my luggage for coming back. ha! eventually I made my way back to the hotel and crashed. ah! after a lovely hot shower.
The weather was so nice and refreshingly cold in London. I know that sounds strange but all the walking around keeps you warm enough and it's not a biting cold. There is some wind that chills but overall it's just a calm or wet sort of cold. I loved it at night because the radiator kept the room quite warm and I'd crack the window each night. So I'd feel a little hot going to bed but so cozy and warm under the cover in the mornings.  I also took a nice bath a few nights in one of the bathrooms that had one. so good on the legs and feet :).  I also enjoyed all the layers! shirt jackets, coats, scarves! ah what a place to dress in London and get out!
okay so anyway, my last day I had left completely free. It was strange having nothing planned, but I enjoyed the freedom to make the day as empty or busy as I'd pleased on my last day. I also had left it open for any last minute destinations or shops to return to for this or that. I took a long morning and breakfast and considered a few options, training out to Oxford? Cambridge? Bath? etc... I'd researched a bit and at breakfast was looking into a train that evening to St. Albans for a Christmas karaoke thing at a pub in town (it's a 20 minute train ride from London, so I'm making it a stop on the next time I'm in UK out of curiosity). I dunno.... However,  a lady at breakfast suggested Hampton Court, and well that was it!  I was up in my room after breakfast, mapping and planning it out. a walk north of Russell Square to the Warren Street metro stop, then down to Vauxhall, and from there a train to Hampton Court. really enjoyed it. You arrive at the end of the train line, walk outside of the station, over a bridge and there are the gates to the palace.  What history! What a place! so much to see and such stories of the past! I followed a tour for a bit, which was a man and woman in character play acting and describing what happened in this room and that as if the queen was going to visit etc...  then I wandered around on my own, took my time. got over the cafe eventually just before 2pm which they'd just shut down the foodline but they let me go ahead and get a lunch and all. it was SO GOOD. ( I was also so hungry! ha).  I walked around a bit more and took photos etc.. then got on the train back to London.  THis time I got out at Victoria and walked around over to Covent Garden and did my best to find a diagonal alley that inspired J K Rowling, but it wasn't meant to be, it was late, people everywhere, my phone dead, and I wanted to get back to the hotel and regroup.  
I walked back after stopping at a Subway sandwich place for dinner to bring back to my room. ;) and sat around for about an hour, then over to St George Church on Bloomsbury for a Candlelight service at 6pm.  It was wonderful, pretty much jsut like my friend's church in AR that is Episcopalian. everything read from the handout, and I actually even loved the choir more. we also sang carols with them here and there but the choir was so nice.  The St Martins event was just 9 people??? which was fine but I wanted a choir. ha  
okay let's end this already. Friday my flight out wasn't until 3:30pm so I checked out by 10 am and left my bags in a closet, then went a street or so over to the British Museum to mill around for a couple hours. and by 12:15 I had my bags and was over to Russell Square station and back on the Piccadilly line all the way out to Heathrow airport... alas end of trip.  I did my best to stay up on the planes watching a few movies and reading a bit.. napped a very little bit.. ..and when I arrived at 8pm in Atlanta I fellt like a ZOMBIE! ha!  finally I boarded a plane for OKC by 10:30 and fell asleep in my seat before the plane even took off.. Zzzzzz.. woke just before we approached the airport in OKC.  got an uber back home and was in bed by 12:30 am - 6:30 am back in London ;) - whoosh!  I was a bit jetlagged the first few days but back on schedule by Christmas Wednesday :). Merry Christmas and I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.

Sunday, December 29, 2019