You know that feeling you get after an incredible, phenomenal, epic vacation? It’s like a punch in the gut type of sensation when you return to reality (especially as an adult… with responsibilities). Well I am trying my hardest to avoid that feeling by following up my adventures through the British Isles (and Scotland is still part of the UK!) with a mini mountain retreat. This afternoon the hubby and I will be making the drive up to Vail to stay with our friends and their folks (thank you, Betsy!) for a relaxing little getaway weekend. I adore Colorado in the “fall,” which is really like a two week whirlwind of beauty in this state, so I finally really get to take advantage of it!
I do feel that I should finally comment about the amazing holiday the hubs and I were able to take in England and Scotland. About six years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad with ten other students in the United Kingdom. We lived in London, but traveled to numerous other parts of the country over a month long excursion. My husband has not really left the country, except to go to Canada and Turks and Caicos (for Mrs. BakeNBurn’s wedding!), so for years we have been planning this trip to the UK, knowing it’d be a great gateway to European travel. Being the anglophile I am, I could not wait.
We left on Saturday, August 30th to begin our 14 hour journey to London. We flew from Denver to Dulles, outside of Washington DC, and then took a red-eye to Heathrow. We arrived in London around 10am local time (after both of our flights arrived EARLY – when does that happen??), after maybe 2 hours of sleep… but we gathered ourselves, made our way to our charming hotel north of Hyde Park, cleaned up and hit the London streets. We walked first through Hyde Park southeast toward Buckingham Palace. Of course we took some obligatory photos of the palace and the guards. We then followed the Princess Diana Memorial path towards Westminster Abbey and the Westminster Palace (the Parliament building). We crossed the Thames and meandered along the bank for some time through a festival taking place, then crossed back over into Charring Cross, worked our way to Trafalgar Square, and stopped for a quick bite at one of my favorite chains, Pret a Manger (yum!). We had walked this whole way, got our bearings, and appreciated the absolute gorgeousness of the day.
We ended the day by taking the Tube back to Paddington, one of the two conveniently located Tube stops, and had a filling pub dinner at the Pride of Paddington. Of course I ordered fish and chips and my first Bulmers of the trip. Let me tell you, the ciders of America will never compare, even the imported Magners and Strongbow are bottled in the US, and the essence of true cider is lost. I will step off my soap box, but just know, if you go to the UK and want a great cider, Bulmers is a true delight.
The next day we arose, after a lengthy night’s sleep, to our only rainy day of the entire trip. We decided it was the perfect morning to spend at the British Museum. We took the Tube to Tottenham Court Road and wandered towards the
beautiful wrought iron gates of the museum entrance. We made our way through ancient Greece and Rome, ancient Egypt and Cleopatra, and ancient China, with a good long look at the Rosetta Stone and the Pantheon freezes. Occupying much of the morning, we found a quaint little eatery, Salt and Pepper, to grab a sandwich and cup of tea. I realized the Brits love sandwiches and toast. I haven’t had that much bread in a long time.
That evening we had dinner at a restaurant recommended by the friends we are visiting this weekend: The Gay Hussar. It’s a tiny, obscure, and nondescript Hungarian restaurant on Greek Street full of history, political drama, and some of the best caricatures I have ever seen! After an incredibly delicious dinner, we strolled down the street to the Queen’s Theatre for a show of Les Miserables. Overall, it was a fantastic start to our trip.
On that note, I must ready myself for the weekend ahead. I anticipate a lot of R&R mixed with hiking, running, and enjoyment of this beautiful state in which I live. Cheers!