UK: “It’s the saddest part of my day, leaving you.”

It’s been four months since I left the UK, so clearly this post is long overdue. But since my last postcard from the UK arrived in the States last week, I don’t feel like I’m too behind the Royal Mail. My last day in the UK, much like this post, was bittersweet. I was just finally figuring out how to get to the bus stop on time, which restaurants are worth a second visit and how to power-walk past slow-moving tourists in the Underground like a local. But all good things must come to an end, so armed with a list of things to do “next time,” I tried to manage the LONGEST DAY EVER with a little bit of grace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I woke up at the same time I did on Tuesday and quickly got dressed. The sun was barely out, but the flat was already warm. I knew it was going to be another hot day. The weather had been a pleasant surprise, but I had not brought the right wardrobe! I dragged my large, purple suitcase down the four flights of stairs to the ground level, mentally apologizing to Katia’s neighbors as I went. It felt like I had just arrived and here I was, pulling my suitcase behind me again.

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UK: “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”

I’ve putting off this last major post of my UK triplog, but as the London 2012 Olympics are almost over, I guess it’s time to get back to work. This was actually one of my favorite days (was there any day that wasn’t a favorite? Probably not!) and I’m already planning my next trip to include some activities I missed this time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
My last day in the UK was spent primary in Windsor. I do wish I’d had one more day in London to just be and really, properly say goodbye to the city. But spending the day outside the city also worked quite well. Despite my late night, I was up on time and leaving Katia’s flat to catch the 0840 bus to the train station. I have to say, it felt rather normal to leave Katia at home, writing, while I ventured to the bus stop alone. I’d become VERY accustomed to my UK life and it was going to be a hard transition back.

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UK: “If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain’t been in vain for nothin’.”

Jenn and Katia’s (London) Day of Fun! (said like this)

Pillow Princess Diana looking down on Pillow Prince William and Pillow Duchess Catherine from Heaven

Monday, May 28, 2012
The day did not start off well. About 20 minutes before my alarm was due to go off, I woke suddenly to buzzing around the room. Katia woke with a yelp as well as we tried to determine what was going on in our sleepy states. We had left the windows cracked overnight as it had been SO hot in the flat when we’d returned the previous evening. It appeared that a large SOMETHING had come into the flat, done a lap and was now perched on the window behind her sheer curtains. After some hushed, tense discussion, Katia bravely opened the window all the way in the hopes that the SOMETHING would fly out. We tried to get ready for the day, while keeping on eye on the window and its SOMETHING. Finally, about 10 minutes before we had to leave the flat to catch the bus, the SOMETHING left her flat via the open window! I suggested that we leave all the windows totally closed all day because I’d much rather come home after a long day in London to a hot flat than one invested with SOMETHINGs. Katia agreed and we checked all the windows and surrounding areas for flying/buzzing creatures before locking up the windows and heading on our way. I had not been looking forward to another early morning, but that incident definitely got my blood pumping!

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UK: “The truth is sometimes things aren’t exactly what you always imagined… they’re even better!”

This day’s itinerary originated from a Pin and grew from there. It was also the first day since my Cambridge day that Katia and I would be spending the day together, which was lovely! We can actually travel well together – huzzah!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fields of ‘rape’ – seriously, that’s what it’s called!

I only hit snooze once this morning, rising about 0715 to get ready. As it was Sunday, we decided the best course of action was to call a taxi to take us to the train station. It was outside Katia’s flat almost before she hung up the phone! We got to the train station about 0800, which was brilliant and gave us time to get a snack for the many trains we’d be taking on our journey. The 0828 train to Kings Cross was fairly empty, but that was not an experience we’d have during the rest of our trip.

From Kings Cross, we ventured across the street to St. Pancras, which is a beautiful old station. As we waited for the train to Brighton, it became very apparent we were the only ones not dressed for a day at the beach! The train filled up to standing room only and it felt like the British equivalent of a train to the Jersey Shore. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the weather, but we exited the train station in Brighton to bright blue skies and warm sunshine.

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UK: “Yes — happiness wouldn’t be happiness without a violin-playing goat.”

How did June go by so quickly?! It’s been a month since I got home from London and I still miss it! With the Olympic team trials going on right now, the pull to go back is stronger than it’s ever been. I’m also reading the official biography of the Queen Mother, and it’s fun to visualize the castles, landmarks and locations mentioned as I read.

Saturday, May 26, 2012
This morning, I really started to feel the wear of the breakneck pace I’d set for myself in creating this trip’s itinerary. It took me a little longer than I wanted, but Katia and I were able to make the 0830 train to Kings Cross as planned. Katia was once again going to work at the British Library while I ventured off, with plans to meet up in Notting Hill later in the afternoon. I dashed off to the Underground when the train pulled in at 0930, grabbing the Victoria line to Victoria station. I transferred to the District line, which luckily was running smoothly, despite previous troubles, to Westminster Station.

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