Distance travelled: 5 miles
Salmon sandwich trip tally: 16
Day Twenty-Two was my last full day in London and the last non-travel day of my trip so I decided last night that I would cram as much wandering into it as my energy level would allow. I was ready to face the outside world just before 10am so I headed to Paddington to catch the Circle Line to Westminster in order to catch the River Bus down to Greenwich; I visited the Royal Observatory there on my last trip, but the weather was so wet and windy that I didn’t spend much time exploring and since I travelled on the Underground, I spent quite a bit of time on the three lines to get there and back. So, I thought a trip down the Thames in the sunshine would be a nice change in mode of travel. Once I’d alighted at Greenwich Pier, I spent some time wandering through the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College/University of Greenwich, glimpsing the Royal Observatory atop its hill and knowing I wouldn’t be trekking up there again this trip.
Anticipating grabbing a quick bite at Costa, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a Bill’s just down the street so I decided that that would be where I enjoyed the last lunch of my trip (and I did). After a yummy meal, I checked in for tomorrow’s flight (*sniffle*) and then meandered through Greenwich Market to the Cutty Sark before heading back to Greenwich Pier to catch the next westbound boat.
I had intended to to disembark at Westminster Pier and take the Tube to Sloane Square so I could visit Saint Columba’s Church on Pont Street and then walk through Hyde Park and back to Paddington, but time and waning energy meant adding Saint Columba’s to next trip’s list of things to visit. So after hopping off the boat at Westminster, I caught the Jubilee Line to Green Park, made my way to and through Hyde Park (where the bluebells were out), and grabbed a final Costa panini at Paddington Station before heading back to the flat to do some packing.
There will be one final post for tomorrow since my journey isn’t quite over yet, but as always, my time here has flown by and I’m not ready to say farewell. But it’s been another wonderful trip.
Day Three began early and after breakfast, I walked to the station and caught a train to Scarborough, my exploration destination of the day. It was rather a full train, being a Saturday, but I did manage to grab a window seat, watching the North Yorkshire countryside go by as I headed toward the coast. After stopping at Costa for a cup of tea and a sandwich to-go, I made my way down quite a hill to the promenade, taking in an amazing panoramic view of Scarborough’s South Bay and the promontory at its northern end which is dominated by the remains of Scarborough Castle (dating from the 12th Century). It was a bit chilly and rather breezy, but the beach and promenade were full of people enjoying the sun.
I wandered north along the promenade for awhile, opposite the many arcades, sweet shops, and ice cream parlours, eventually settling on a bench to eat my sandwich and listen to/watch the waves roll in. And to watch all of the dogs out for walks and runs on the beach and promenade (I can’t lie). I enjoyed the fresh air and sun for awhile, but, still jet lagged and not feeling as great as I’d like, I eventually wandered back toward the hilly street that led me down to the waterfront … and spotted the Central Tramway, one of Scarborough’s two functioning funiculars, that has been operating since 1881 (and was well worth the 85p).
After snapping a few more photos of the bay and castle from atop the cliff, I made my way back to/through the shopping district, stopping into Marks and Spencer for some veggies – and a scarf – grabbed some things at Boots, and walked back to the station. Judging from the number of reservation slips, the train back looked like it’d be pretty full as well, but since I was getting off at the third stop, I was able to grab another window seat with no problem and enjoy the scenery again. I made my way back to my B&B and have spent the evening typing, reading, and packing, since this is my last night in York and tomorrow brings a journey north to another familiar place.
Leaving on a Jet Plane…
It was a lovely, sunny afternoon in San Francisco when our 747 took to the air. Heading west out over the peninsula before banking back to the east, it flew over San Francisco Bay, providing beautiful views of downtown, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the surrounding area. Before long, I could glimpse Lake Tahoe as the plane headed northeast and we were truly on our way. Dinner was served over Montana – the mushroom rigatoni was very good – and then the window shades were all closed to help – and probably encourage – passengers to sleep. And apparently, you are not allowed to open them, even if you’ll be staring at a dark, star-filled sky for hours. A nervous flyer, but one who can’t help but fall asleep on planes, I was looking forward to catching some winks during the 10.5 hour journey, but just couldn’t seem to…which made for a very long flight.
The breakfast snack was served, the window shades went up…and we were over Ireland! I alternated between eagerly watching the progress of our plane on the seat-back television and plastering my face against the window and soon, we were making a wide loop over London on our approach to Heathrow, allowing me the first breathtaking views of all the sites I’ve longed to see, spread there along the Thames.
Heathrow was a bit overwhelming (probably due to lack of sleep and nerves), but everything went smoothly – with the exception of the gentleman in customs who checked my passport, who wasn’t friendly at all – and soon we were aboard the Heathrow Express to Paddington. A cab took us to our Earls Court flat from the station and the busy pace of everything – especially the traffic – was more than a bit overwhelming.
We took the Tube to Knightsbridge (and I managed not to get us lost or look like a tourist) and wandered around Harrods (where we did sort of get lost and I’m pretty sure we looked like tourists) and then made our way back to dinner in a pub a couple of blocks from the flat. We’re planning on eating there again before we leave, so hopefully, I can try the smoked fish pie that they were out of last night. Finally, after being up for 32 hours, I went to bed and enjoyed a fantastic night’s sleep.
Once upon a time, I created this (very) little blog as a place to chronicle my trip to the United Kingdom, the trip that I’ve been dreaming of and longingly wishing to take for over a decade. I can happily say that that trip is finally here and this little blog will at last get to fulfill its intended purpose as a travelogue. I’m off on my big adventure, spending a month wandering my way through England and Scotland and back again, hopefully keeping track of the whole experience on this little thing. First stop: London, where my good friend and I will explore for a week before she flies back to the States and I leave for the next stop on my itinerary. Perhaps you’d like to follow along?