Salmon Sandwich Tally: 9
Distance Walked: 14 Miles
Writing Soundtrack: ITV 3
*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***
I don’t have much to say about Day Thirteen as I spent a lazy day in the flat until it was time to meet a friend for dinner.
Day Fourteen was spent at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew which is my favourite place to visit while in London. I had a window of good weather (it only briefly drizzled) and was able to spend quite a few hours happily wandering. The bluebells have bloomed and there were blankets of blueish purple throughout the woodland areas…actually, they could be found pretty much everywhere. Even with a full day to explore, it would be quite a challenge to cover everything there is to see, but since I was pressed for time this visit, I focused on some of my favourite sections and Kew Palace, since I’d never ventured inside before. And lunch at The Orangery is always a good idea. I really can’t recommend Kew enough and if I lived in/near London, I’d probably find my way there quite often. An adult admission with donation is £18.50 and the Victoria Gate (the main gate) is just a short walk down Lichfield Road from Kew Gardens Station. The Temperate House has been closed for refurbishment during each previous visit but is scheduled to open May 5th after an extensive restoration (hopefully I can catch it next time.Later that evening, I met a friend for dinner and we saw Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre. It featured Edward Fox, Freddie Fox, Frances Barber, Nathaniel Parker, Sally Bretton, and Susan Hampshire…and was absolutely superb.Day Fifteen was my last full day in London before I fly home tomorrow. I had planned to walk along the Embankment and then wander through a couple of the parks on my way back to the flat, but the wind and the rain thwarted that plan. So instead I caught a Thames Clipper at Embankment Pier, rode it to Greenwich, had lunch, then rode it back to Tower Gateway Pier and caught the Tube back to Paddington from Tower Hill.
I may not make a post about the final trip day as it’ll just be a travel day from London back to San Francisco, but I just want to thank any and everyone for following this little adventure and taking the time to read these little ramblings.
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.
Distance travelled: 7.15 miles
Salmon sandwich trip tally: 13 (but I also had salmon sushi for dinner so one could argue that salmon meals stand at 14)
Day Fifteen was my last full day in Oxford and even though I don’t leave until tomorrow afternoon, the thought of having to say goodbye makes me sad. I let myself sleep in again this morning and like yesterday, was on my way to breakfast at the Vaults and Garden around 10 am. The sun wasn’t out, but since it wasn’t raining, I couldn’t resist sitting outside to enjoy the view of the Radcliffe Camera again.
After breakfast, I went to the post office to mail home that box filled with Jaffa Cakes and caramel biscuits. They were busy again (I have a feeling that post office, being in the Oxford City Centre, is always busy), but it wasn’t too long until I was back on St. Aldate’s, heading toward the River Thames. I’d decided to dedicate as much time today as necessary to walk down to Iffley Lock, a location from my favourite episode of Inspector Lewis (“The Ramblin’ Boy”) that a friend showed me the way too during my visit last year. It’s just over a two mile walk each way along the tow path and I wasn’t in any hurry as I made my way along the river, stopping on my journey at a horse-filled meadow for a few minutes (although they were busy eating and ignored me).
I reached “The Bridge” at Iffley Lock and after snapping lots of photos, sat on a bench to watch the ducks for awhile (there were lots of ducks and I’m not sure who was more fascinated, me or them).
After enjoying a trail mix bar and some water, I made my way back along the towpath, past the horses (who had either disappeared or all turned into geese), and across the Thames, deciding to take the daffodil path along the Cherwell again as a longer means of getting back to the Broad Walk at Christ Church College. After stopping at Paperchase for a luggage tag (funny that my luggage makes it to my destinations but my luggage tags don’t seem to), I headed to the Ashmolean Museum with the intention of seeing some of the exhibits I didn’t get to last year, but found it difficult with it as crowded as it was. So, I didn’t stay particularly long, visiting the museum shop before stopping at Boots and then Wasabi for some take away sushi for dinner (something not Costa), making my way back to my hotel via Market Street, Brasenose Lane, and Radcliffe Square.
Tomorrow I return to London for the final stop on my trip, one last week which I know will fly by no matter how desperately I wish time would slow down.
Distance travelled: 4.6 miles
Salmon sandwich trip tally: 12
I decided that on Day Fourteen, I would sleep until I woke up without an alarm…which meant sleeping until 8am. Around 10am, I headed across High Street to the Vaults and Garden, my favourite breakfast spot in Oxford (and perhaps my favourite Oxford spot period). They have delicious sourdough toast and the view really can’t be beat.
After breakfast, I wound through Merton College and along Dead Man’s Walk to the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, situated along the River Cherwell near Magdalen Bridge/College. I spent about two hours meandering through the glasshouses and along the paths and river, encountering the same duck couple multiple times (they seemed particularly friendly, even though I didn’t have any duck snacks…but Mrs. Duck’s limp made my heart hurt).
I considered taking the bus down to the university’s arboretum on the chance that their bluebell wood would be in bloom (the above flowers are Scilla), but decided against it (figured the chances were remote if I haven’t seen a single bluebell anywhere else – I’m hoping they’ll make an appearance before I head home). I thought I might make my way up to the Ashmolean Museum to see some of the things I didn’t manage to last time but that will be on tomorrow’s agenda, since I wandered south along the Cherwell and Christ Church Meadow to the Thames, passing huge patches of daffodils splashing yellow along the banks. Navigating the numerous geese (and their presents) and managing not to get hissed at, I made it to the Inspector Lewis Robbie/Laura fangirl bench (from the episode “Beyond Good and Evil” – see posts from last year’s trip) and sat for awhile to watch the river and take in the quiet.
Eventually, I wandered back up Poplar and Broad Walks, dodging massive groups of school children and tourists, and crossed St. Aldate’s to Tesco for multiple boxes of Jaffa Cakes (don’t judge me) and then to the post office for a box in which to ship them home (please don’t judge me) and some more international stamps. As they were quite busy, it took awhile, but I was finally successful and then grabbed a late lunch (from…Costa) and headed back to my hotel room to read and relax. A short trip out for dinner later and then back to the room to read some more…and sing and dance along (badly) to musicals again. Current album stuck in my brain: the original Broadway cast recording of Into the Woods, one of my most favourite favourites.