Good heavens it’s blustery out today!! I can feel the house shaking in the wind.Later this week I hope to take you on a tour of my little farm in Australia. AFTER I put away the laundry and tidy up the mail and hide the vacuum cleaner.
My friend Olga is in London right now, and this morning she wrote:
“I fell through the rabbit hole and am in a Wonderland,
the land of hobbits, elves and fairies.
Breathtaking green hills and grey skies.
And every time I take a walk, I think I’m going to run into Jane Eyre or Mr. Darcy, or the White Rabbit, or Elijah Wood.
Just call me Alice…”
I know exactly how she feels.
Until last year, I’d only known London through my imagination, shaped by a plethora of books, movies, plays and people that made this city into something dreams are made of.
No doubt London has its seedy side, its faults and foibles like any city, but there is so much more to love.
London pubs. They were everything I had ever dreamed of with jolly bartenders, cozy places of dark wood and cracked leather seats, cute old couples sitting across the way from young families sipping tea or a group of construction workers having a pint after a long day. They are convivial and communal, and I absolutely love them.
Red telephone booths. Red double-decker buses. Even cherry red doors. Since red is my favorite color, London made me a happy girl indeed.
London Museums. I don’t think London has as many (or as strange!) museums as Amsterdam, but the ones they do have are breathtaking in their scale and scope. And best of all, they’re FREE. My friend Katy and I spent several happy hours wandering through the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and didn’t see even a sliver of the wonders they hold.
Afternoon tea in London. I am a tea girl through and through. Though I’ll happily down espresso in Italy and cafe au lait in Paris, it is tea that I drink every single day.
My favorite tea memory in London was when Katy and I met up with my beloved brother Ryan and our dear friend (and fellow Travel Belle) Cailin and her husband who were visiting from their hometown of Toronto, Canada.
We gathered at a cafe in Covent Garden and had such a great visit as we downed pots of cream tea.
London flower stalls. I grew up watching “My Fair Lady” more times than I can count, so I admit my heart gave a happy little lurch when I saw this stall along the street. If only Eliza Dolittle would’ve popped out singing “All I Want Is A Room Somewhere” – my happiness would’ve been complete.
London institutions. I already mentioned the Victoria and Albert Museum, but we also got to see other London landmarks like the infamous (and enormous!) Harrod’s. I knew it was big, but I had no idea how big until I stood outside and craned my neck up to see the top. Wow.
More tea. After all that walking and museum-perusing, Katy and I were in dire need of another cuppa. This time we splurged on a gorgeous strawberry tart to go with our Moroccan Mint Tea, then sat back and indulged in some rather fabulous people watching.
London Underground. I love taking the Underground. Absolutely love it! And in London it’s extra special because somehow, even though I’d never been there, I “knew” nearly all the stops: King’s Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden. A combination of Harry Potter and a lifetime of reading British novels made these names feel familiar and loved.
Katy and I took the Underground and trains all over London – she’s a wiz at navigating tunnels and stops – and I couldn’t help but grin when I heard those oh-so-familiar words: “mind the gap.”
If you could go to London tomorrow, what is the first thing you’d like to see?