England Rendezvous, Chapter 1
I wanted to do something spectacular for my 40th birthday and things got interesting when a friend suggested I join her and some other gals to hike the Swiss Alps that year. I was so onboard! How many people can say they’ve hiked the Swiss Alps?
Well, not me, it turns out.
It had been two months since I rendezvoused with the man in Scotland. After that trip that sent my heart soaring and my tears flowing as goodbyes were exchanged at the end of our six days together, we phoned, we emailed and I hoped we would see each other again. The closer it got to the Swiss Alps trip the more I realized that given limited vacation time at work and limited funds for a long-distance courtship, I had to make a choice: Hike the Alps with some fun women or take another chance to see if what happened in Scotland had any sticking power.
So I didn’t hike the Alps. I bailed and decided to go to London instead–by myself, actually. Turns out, it’s also rather convenient for Steve (the man I met in Scotland) to rendezvous again with me. Once I let Steve know about my plans to go to London he immediately jumped at the chance to meet me there, but only met me for week two of my trip since I wanted to have some time to myself in London.
I just adore London and I’m so glad I made the decision to do the first half of the trip by myself. Here’s what I learned:
- You actually don’t have to take the Tube everywhere because most of the time a lovely walk through Hyde Park will get you to where you need to be. (This was a big “duh!” moment for me.)
- I arrived the week London was having a heat wave. Londoners took this opportunity to sunbathe at Hyde Park and I thought I was pasty white!
- They have Subway sandwich shops in London–same menu and about the same prices in the U.S., which totally saved me loads of money on food.
- Other great food options for lunch include Pret a Manger and Marks and Spencer. I discovered this when I watched where the locals were eating.
- Best view of London is not the pricey “Eye,” but take the stairs clear to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral–completely breathtaking and an awesome workout.
- You don’t get ice in your water at dinner. They like to serve it room temperature, so you gotta ask for ice, ice baby.
- They have potato chips of every flavor imaginable.
- A co-worker from England convinced me before my trip that I should take the double decker bus tour to get the lay of the land during my first couple of days and you know what? Best. Advice. Ever. (Yes, snobs, she was right.)
- Edinburgh is only a 5 and 1/2 hour train ride from London and that’s how close I was to Steve.
- Sometimes it’s okay to walk away from previous travel plans. Sure, I didn’t hike the Alps, but if I did, I would have missed London as well as a big part in the next chapter of my life.