Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back from holiday recount: London first.....

Indeed I made it! The three weeks I spent in Europe were fabulous. First of all, the weather cooperated. It rained for weeks before I arrived in London, same in Holland. Camille and Thelma kept me informed of the nasty developments, but as soon as I arrived, the sun came out!

All was packed and I was as ready as I can be when flying. For days before that, I got things organized at home, did as much as I could before I left. Was exhausted when I boarded the plane with my usual nervousness. Fortunately, I got a great seat where I like to sit, had the seat next to me empty. Had dinner. I had ordered an Asian vegetarian meal, better than expected. Settled to watch "Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows: Part I"....didn't even finished it! Slept most of the way. Great flight across the Atlantic for a change.

Arriving in London, got through Immigration quickly: thanks to my Dutch passport; the taxi driver Camille had sent was there waiting and in no time I was at her place. So wonderful to see her! It was a bit cool and after a long shower, we just went off to explore the neighborhood. I never sleep right away when I travel to Europe. Ran errands and met Tim for dinner a famous pub off Regents Street. Just the thing! Went home and slept like a baby until late the next morning: no sign of jet lag....

London always offers something new when I visit. I just love this city. This time, it was Camille's new neighborhood South of the river. It is full of quaint shops, little restaurants and galleries, quiet streets and parks. It is not really a part of London I would consider, but have to admit it has its charms. You take the National Rail train to get to Victoria Station, and from there....anywhere! Camille was working, so I went to the supermarket and the bank before going home to cook dinner. It felt just right.

One more day of exploring and I met Camille after work. Tim joined us for excellent sushi at a restaurant just off Berkeley Square. It rained cats and dogs. I was not very happy: had the Summer gone? Oh, well, what to do. At least it was night time and we went home with great plans for the next day. Saturday dawned cool, sunny and beautiful. We left the flat to go to Kingston, small town with big shopping malls right on the Thames, close to Hampton Court.

It was a fabulous idea. After completing some errands, we settled for a lovely lunch overlooking the river, watching people go by, enjoying the sun and the water. The food was food, the company even better. Stayed out until late at night....with the sun still bright. Exhausted, but happy, we got back. Camille and I had plans for Sunday, since Tim was working.

Off to Portobello Road, we went. One of my favorite parts of the city, this is a place I go back over and over. It's better on Saturday, but this Sunday was perfect. It was hot, sunny and the place was full. After a light lunch in a secluded terrace, we walked up and down, watching, looking, shopping and enjoying the atmosphere. As I knew, there have been changes. The Council is determined to make the place over, not always with the blessings of the residents. Still, big developers are pushing their way through and the area will suffer. Looking at it, I remembered sadly what happened to Covent Garden a few years back. Before we left, we purchased tickets to watch "Bridesmaids" at the Electric was to be an experience.

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