|From March 2012|
The TARDIS and Doctor Who. We’re certifiable nerds now.
I realized two days into blogging about our travels that there was way too much to write about and it’s really hard to make your own fascinating travels interesting to others. I remember my friend Shari saying once that events in our life are often remembered as particular moments that represent the whole experience. Here are a few for this trip:
Walking up to the original Bodleian Library reading room and just smelling the books.
Having a 15 minute conversation with a fellow mother by the river at Stratford-upon-Avon. Her 2-year-old son Charlie was with her eating a very drippy ice cream cone, and I discovered through our conversation that we struggled with the same work vs. stay-at-home dilemmas. And her son sounded just like Harry of “Charlie bit my finger” fame.
Attending evensong at Westminster Abbey. It was, by far, one of the most moving spiritual experiences I have ever had.
The graying guy down by the river opening my beer with his teeth.
Sitting on a stoop in Oxford eating a tomato and brie quiche I bought at the local farmer’s market. It was one of the best things I ate in England.
Hoping on and off the tube our first day in London in search of things to “Drive by and Take a Picture Of” – a category on a list of suggested England activities that we originally laughed at until we realized how true it was. We found Jeremy Bentham in his hallway at University College London. And finished taking our pictures at Platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross just as a Spanish couple rounded the corner and started exclaiming in spanish over finding it, just as we had done moments before.
Discovering rain in Oxford made me want to make tea, read a book and learn something. And at the end of the day, find a cozy pub and chat with friends over really great beer.
We were playing it low-key today to catch up on sleep and relax a bit. Debby took me shopping to some charity shops today. Think Goodwill and Salvation Army picked down to the top 25 percent of their goods and divided into about 25 different little stores, and then you’ll understand British charity shops. It’s the ultimate in bargain, feel good shopping because you find cheap items at stores called things like “Shop Here if You Love Kids.”
I bought three things today:
And then for dinner tonight, we had take out fish and chips from the local fish and chip place. It was my first time with Fish and Chips. They came wrapped in the greasy paper and were surprisingly good given the iffy reviews other people had given me. I feel like I need to take a run or eat something religously healthy, like a eggplant, to make up for it.
Tomorrow: London. Not on the agenda: Buckingham Palace. On the agenda: Jeremy Bentham’s corpse. This is what it looks like traveling with a philosopher.
Woke up after about 3 to 4 hours of sleep on the plane. Downed a breakfast of a croissant, three grapes, a bite of melon, a glass of water and a cup of coffee. Almost immediately feel very nauseated and spend the next four hours willing myself not to puke. As I clutched my barf bag during that time, I settled the troubling personal question, “Would it be better to gain 60 pounds every time I’m pregnant and never be sick, or throw up every day and gain the recommended 25 to 35 pounds?”
Picked up by our lovely former resident of Copenhagen friend Debby who settled us into her guest cottage (that’s right, GUEST COTTAGE. Completely equipped with drinks, fruit, coffee, tea, cereal, fresh flower, 400+ count sheets and Yankee candles!) and my stomach is calm enough for me to introduce it to clotted cream, which you eat with jam and scones.
Washed the jet plane off ourselves and took off for Windsor Castle. Seeing it felt really surreal and amazing, like seeing Washington D.C. for the first time. It’s about $20 to get in but there is a free audio tour that is really nice. Had lots of “[insert name of British monarch] walked here! YIEEeeee!” tourist moments. Saw a special exhibit of original drawings of all of Henry VIII’s wives including one of Anne Boleyn that I’d never seen in any book before. Possibly one of my favorite things there. Had a moment for Shanna Twigg.
About midway through the Windsor State Rooms, fatigue and hunger hit like a billy club. We finished up with St. George’s Chapel and headed over to the Crooked House of Windsor, which is actually crooked and too cute for words. Revived ourselves with tea and a cheese plate. Am renewing my old love of tea. Can almost understand how just having tea could renew a nation’s resolve to get through the Blitz.
Did a little window-shopping before giving up for the day, going back to the main house and having dinner. Managed to stay awake until 8:30pm by watching Friends on British cable. Now up at 2:30am waiting for the Tylenol PM to kick in.