Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jolly Old England

Travel planning can be a giant sinkhole for time. Between the number of potential destinations, the hotel and transport options, figuring out where to go, how to get there, and how long to stay can lead to hours on-line and one huge headache. So imagine the thrilling feeling months back when I proposed spending the kids' February "ski" break in London (in plenty of time to get the sacred 77 euro roundtrip Eurostar tickets) and everyone said yes.

The weather was crap for our trip (although probably no worse than staying in Paris) but that did not deter us. In fact, it was the perfect time to enjoy London's mostly free array of spectacular museums which for us included the British Museum, Science Museum, and the Tate Modern. We also took a day trip to Windsor, well worth the time and practically empty, and shared a lovely afternoon with our former tenants, recently relocated back to the London suburbs after five years in DC.

This being my fourth trip to London, there is something so easy about being there, not quite home but with so many familiar sights, sounds, and tastes. Spicy Indian and Thai food? Check. Big glasses of water given at every meal? Check. English spoken here? Check. Two and a quarter hours city center to city center? Check. Check. Check.

I did not take many pictures on this visit, partly because wearing gloves and carrying an umbrella are not exactly compatible with getting the quick snap. Nevertheless I found a few signs that I enjoyed very much.

And for those of you who have seen the movie Closer:


Joy said...

Oooh, spicy Indian and Thai food! I hope you indulged well, and often! ;) One of the things I am most looking forward to about going back home is the diversity of the food.

And I LOVE the "Feeling Peckish" sign! Thanks!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Funny I read this all the time about London...or England. But would you live here?

You have Indian restuarants in Paris, you have Thai. You have wonderful restaurants there. You have fabulous museums too.

I have never seen big glasses of water in restaurants. Did you find it expensive, or do you work in dollars which might be better for you.

I am pleased that you had a really good time though.

I cannot wait to get back to Paris.. :-) mostly to see my friends, but also sights that I have missed.

Anne said...

Anne: The museums are wonderful in both places but the free admission is a plus. We spent the morning in the British Museum, left for lunch, and then came back. Nice to have that flexibility.

And yes there are Indian and Thai restaurants in Paris but the food is spiced for French tastes which to my way of thinking is not at all!

We found food (both in restaurants and grocery stores) much cheaper than in Paris. Transit fares are a bit higher (even with the Oyster card).

I would jump at the chance to live in London; regrettably my husband's employer does not have an office there so it will be back home for us when our Parisian experience ends.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Anne

Yes I suppose you have good points wherever you go.

I would jump at a chance to live in Paris, to experience it. But like you there is no place for my husband to work there, he works in Formula 1.

At least it is easier for both of us when we are in Europe to go to both places.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Oh sorry, don't get me wrong I love my mother-in-law lives there and we go quite a lot, but not too the tourist parts, maybe I should go again. Not been down that way for years and years, but I do have my friends coming over from Paris in May for a trip and we are meeting up :-)

Starman said...

London is something we haven't yet done, much to the chagrin of our British friend. But with the declining of the pound, maybe soon.

Sasho said...

I'd live in London in a heartbeat, for, as Samuel John said, "...when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life..."

Perhaps the employer will extend your tour again and you will be a bit closer for more visits.


Cameron said...

My son lived in London while getting his grad degree in archaeology. For a poor student, he decided he didn't like it. Too expensive. We enjoyed visiting him - but he was thrilled when had him join us in Tuscany for a few days one year to get him out of London instead of us visiting him there!

I really enjoy visiting the UK, but would choose France for an international relocation adventure.


Virginia said...

well tell me about trying to photograph in freezing weather. Last month in Paris, I got so tired of trying to rip the right glove off with my teeth while groping for my camera! you gotta watch that hot breath or you'll fog up that viewfinder too!HA

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