Lazy Days in London
I ended up missing the first train back to London from Leamington Spa so I sat and waited half hour for the next one. That got me into central London by 130pm. I went to catch the tube back to Hammersmith station only to discover there was large amounts of maintenance going on that weekend, so the lines I needed to get home were shut down. I had to navigate my way using busses. This put me home for 230pm and I had to meet Graham Cook in Notting Hill for 3pm! I changed quickly and ran right back out the door and managed to arrive only 10 or 15 minutes late.
I met Graham while traveling through South America last year. I met him in Cusco. We were both redheads with red sunburned cheeks and called ourselves red balloons (after a few beers in the pub, we thought it was hysterical). Graham and I strolled through the busy Portabello Market, overflowing into the streets with stalls selling antiques, music, fresh food, you name it. (This market was featured in the Notting Hill movie in case anyone knows it.) This bit of London is still, thus far, my all time favorite. There is just something magical about the market and the little homes and quirky pubs and food stalls.
Graham spotted a pub on the corner situated right behind the stand selling (and blasting) records and CDs of old 1950s blues and jive music. The pub had actually kept their sound system off as the music stall outside could be heard from their cozy pub benches inside. We sat and caught up and talked about travel and the election and feasted on traditional English “pies” (steak and ale pie) and pints of bitter.
When we were finished, and completely full, we popped into the Travel Bookshop (where Hugh Grant works in the movie Notting Hill) and I ordered a copy of the Costa Rica Lonely Planet that I will pick up on my way out of London. I then head home to Hammersmith and spent the entire evening in bed, resting up. The cough that had stuck with me after the head cold I had caught in Canada before I left (although I thought had cleared up completely) remained with me and in the last day or so had seemed to be getting worse, and so I committed to strict rest in attempts to clear it up again before Morocco.
The next day, Sunday, I left the house in the morning briefly to pick up some cold medication from the nearest pharmacy. Then back to bed I went.
It wasn’t until 8pm that I met Sophie at the nearest pub to the Hammersmith flat for a traditional Sunday roast dinner. Last time I was in the UK everyone told me it was something I absolutely had to take part in, but I had somehow missed out, so this time I had to try it – plus, a girl has to eat, sick or not. We feasted on a huge plate of roasted chicken and yorkshire pudding (which were not even close to as good as yours Mom) and vegetables, washed down with a little wine. After dinner, Sophie came back to the flat with me and kept me company while I waited for Shai to return from her flight from Norway.
Shai arrived at 145am and quickly re-packed her bag. We left to catch a 3am bus that would take us to the Luton airport. On the bus, we be-friended a guy named Sebastian as we all tried to figure out routes and timetables that would get us there in time for our 630am departures. Sebastian works at a high-end night club in London and was heading to Berlin for the weekend. Amazing how people living in Europe can so easily zoom about to nearby countries for weekends like that. It’s cheap and the flights are short.
We arrived at the airport and checked in for our flights and ordered up some breakfast – a few more glasses of wine. Forgetting the time, we had to actually run through the terminal to make our flights, but remember, everything always works out. We boarded the plane and off we went, heading for Morocco.