Adventures of a Wanderess – Day 22

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.

Busy Wanderings: My Big British Adventure – Day 28

Today, I woke up with the intent of wandering around and checking a few more sights off my list.  I was up and moving by 8 am and out the door just before 10am, heading to Paddington to catch the Circle Line to St. James’s Park.  After alighting, I made my way down Petty France to Buckingham Place, which took me to – you guessed it – Buckingham Palace.  The whole area was already swarming with people, so I just wandered on by, snapping a few photos as I dodged the herds of prams and clueless tourists who stop right in the middle of walkways.  I walked northwest up Constitution Hill, adjacent to Green Park, where I found a shady bench and sat for awhile.  I then continued on up to Duke of Wellington Place and popped under the road via the subway tunnel to the Pret a Manger on the other side, where I grabbed a bite of lunch.

 

After lunch, the subway tunnel took me back under the road to the island within the traffic circle on which stands the Wellington Arch.  After wandering by, I made my way across Knightsbridge to Hyde Park, where I spent the next couple of hours walking and wandering (there’s been quite a bit of wandering this trip).  I made my way along the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, met two very friendly squirrels, and then along the north side of the Serpentine, where I stopped and got some ice cream to enjoy along the way.  I crossed the Serpentine Bridge and walked to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, where people were sitting and paddling their feet in the water, as the sign encourages them to do.  

  

I then headed to the Albert Memorial, where I sat on a bench and enjoyed the breeze and the scenery.  I also met a very nice woman from Melbourne, Australia, who shared my bench, and was so excited to be visiting the UK; she said it took her 70 years to finally get a stamp in her passport.  Her trip is just beginning and she’ll leave London for Stirling, Scotland and then come back down to Cornwall, tracing her family roots along the way.  After a peaceful little sit, I made my way down Kensington Road to Kensington High Street station and caught the Circle Line back to Paddington.  I’ve spent the evening playing Tetris with my two suitcases, my carry on, my purse, and all of the stuff that I somehow have to manage to fit in them.

Today was my last full day in London.  I know that, come tomorrow, it will have been four weeks since I arrived in the UK, but those weeks have flown by and I’m very sad to be leaving.  But, I feel so lucky, so thankful that I was able to embark on this adventure, to see so many beautiful places, experience so many new things, and meet so many interesting people.  I’m also proud of myself for doing most of it on my own, for finding the courage to drive on the other side of the road, to navigate public transit, to hop a bus to a country village, to go on a sightseeing tour not knowing anyone else, to be flexible and change plans when I needed/wanted to.  And I’m proud of myself for sticking to my goal of chronicling every day of my journey.  Although I’ll leave the UK on a 747 tomorrow morning, my adventure isn’t quite over yet…

Busy Wanderings: My Big British Adventure – Day 3

Day three in London began much earlier than the day before as we hopped on the District Line and headed to the Tower of London first thing.  The view of the entire thing as we emerged from Tower Hill station was spectacular, with Tower Bridge and the Thames in the background.  Our London Passes got us in the gate quickly and we wandered around a bit while awaiting the beginning of the next guided tour, an amazing must-do, in this tourist’s opinion.  Our Yeoman Warder’s name was Jim and he was brilliant, filling us in on the history of the Tower, from the bits we knew to the many that we didn’t.  Our tour began in what was the moat – now filled and covered with impeccable grass – moved on to Traitors’ Gate, and then many other sites before ending in the chapel.  After, we made our way next door to the Crown Jewels, overwhelming in their beauty and quantity, and then we had a lovely lunch in the cafĂ© before exploring some more on our own.

 

We then walked up to Tower Bridge and caught a bus (our first one and, unfortunately, not a double-decker one) to Borough Market where we wandered around the stalls.  This California girl couldn’t resist buying a tiny loaf of sourdough bread (it wasn’t really sour at all by Northern California standards).  We then hopped the Jubilee Line to Covent Garden where we wandered around the Seven Dials area, a nice little happenstance for me since The Seven Dials Mystery is my favourite Agatha Christie novel.  My feet were threatening to detach themselves, so we popped into Shuh so that I could buy a pair of Toms (I didn’t bring any of the three pairs that I have at home), which will probably remain one of the best purchases of my trip.  I wore them out of the store and my feet have thanked me ever since.  A stop at Neal’s Yard Dairy got us some lovely goat cheese and then we hopped on the Piccadilly Line at Leicester Square.

  
We got off at Hyde Park Corner and wandered through the park for a very little ways (it’s a very big park and I plan to spend a day wandering all around it when I get back to London), turning around at the Serpentine and making our way back.  Along the way, I saw my first bluebells, something that’s been on my list to see while I’m here for ages since we don’t have them at home.  They were beautiful and there were white ones scattered amongst them as well.  As we wandered through them, we met two very friendly – and hopeful – squirrels.  Unfortunately, we had to disappoint them, since our sourdough bread and goat cheese were to be saved for later.  We made our way back to the Tube and then to the Blackbird, the Earls Court pub that we ate at our first night.  They did have the smoked fish pie this time around and it was very good…and very rich.  C’s friend then met us there and we visited for a bit before we said goodnight and headed back to the flat.  I’m still hoping to venture down to West Wittering tomorrow, so we’ll need an early start to catch the train from Victoria.