Monday, 24 October 2011
So, it's done. All over. Finished. Finito. This time had to come, there was no getting away from it, and now my most excellent adventure has ended, I'm back home.
Coming home was sweetened by two things this holiday - the first was that I decided to come home in stages. Not as in parts of me by mail by instalment, but as in breaking my journey on the way back - of which more shortly. The second was that my awesome temporary flatmate, Frances met me off the train in Stirling. It would have been better if she recognised me when she saw me. It was only 2 weeks after all, but it's the thought that counts... (Just kidding, Frances, it was really lovely of you to be there to welcome me home)
I've already blogged about my pit stop in Paris, so tonight it's time to tell you about my overnight in London.
I arrived off the evening Eurostar from Paris to find, sadly, that the Tube wasn't running on the Victoria line, and that was, sadly, just the very line I needed to get to my hotel. I decided to walk it instead because - you know - 'it's not that far'. Wrong! It is. It's very far, particularly when you're lugging a large bag. At night. After days of travelling.
But enough complaining. It was actually fine, and good to stretch my legs after the train journey - although, to be fair, I had been walking round Paris already for much of the day. The hotel was easy enough to find, my room was possibly the smallest of the entire holiday, certainly the shortest - being an attic room. And the meal (and drink) I ordered from room service was by far and away the most expensive of the whole trip - but heck, it was my last night away from home and I was going to enjoy it.
After a reasonable night's sleep, I woke earlier than I'd expected - not early enough to take up the lovely Amber's offer of a home cooked breakfast a sa maison, but with enough time to go out for a wander in the still quiet streets of the capital. And wander I did - I felt like I was starring in a game of Monopoly: Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Picadilly, Park Lane, Mayfair, Hyde Park.
It was a beautifully sunny morning. The leaves had started to turn golden red, and against my expectations I found beauty in a city I've always found a bit too intense for me in the past. I also found beauty in the detail of the buildings I was passing. It's not just Paris, Rome and Palermo that have fascinating vistas and quirky features. I found them in London as well, and as long term readers of the blog will know, I regularly find them in Stirling too. It is true, I don't need to be on holiday to partake of BBPs!!
Anyway, I finished my wander with a walk along Great Portland Street, home of the BBC and I was able to pay homage to my constant companion of travels in the form of the BBC online, BBC Radio iPlayer and BBC World Service. With the joys of the internet, wherever I travelled I could keep in touch and up-to-date courtesy of them - even if listening to Good Morning Scotland's travel reports while planning my day's activities in Palermo could be a bit surreal at times!
And then it was time to catch the train - of which journey least said the better. Other than I have clearly been spoilt by my European train experiences. Still, it left and arrived on time - miraculous for a Sunday - and then I was back in Stirling, eating curry with Frances and boring her with all the tales of my exploits.
Little wonder then perhaps that she moved out today! But that's a whole different story and best told by the woman herself.
So now, here I am. Home from holiday. Back to reality tomorrow I guess, but even though it's ended I've still got my memories - and my photos - and my blogposts. And time to start planning the next one.