Welcome back from the weekend, folks! I hope it was a splendid one indeed. I’d say it certainly was over here on my end, though London weather has officially entered fall mode. Brace for it: I wore my first turtleneck sweater of the season today.
Despite the decreasing temps and increasing rainfall, my husband and I enjoyed a leisurely walk around the city center and west side, getting to play tourists all over again with our guests in town. We started by catching a quick Tube ride to Westminster station so they could immediately catch a glimpse of Big Ben (factoid: the bell inside the tower is Ben, actually, not the tower itself). We then walked north along the Thames, strolling through the lovely Victoria-Embankment garden before crossing over the river at the Golden Jubilee bridge (rather than the always-congested Westminster bridge) to get a nice view of Parliament. Once at the South Bank, we also got a closer vantage of the London Eye and street performers. Eventually, we made our way back east of the river to Trafalgar Square, gawking at the massive model of Nelson’s ship in a bottle on the Fourth Plinth near the National Gallery. From there, we were feeling a bit peckish, so meandered into Soho to find a cozy pub just off Carnaby Street for lunch, after which hitting the Liberty store (an atmospheric faux-Tudor style building that looks like what Anthropologie would be if it were a department store…and also where I suspect Admiral Nelson purchased the fabulous fabric for those ship sails ;)).
And then the day got rather interesting. Just as we descend the steps down into the bowels of Oxford Circus Tube station, I notice my vision going wonky and realize I’m coming down with a migraine. If you haven’t suffered one of these, let me just say that the last time I wasn’t able to thwart one in time with aspirin, I was left writhing in pain and vomiting. Yeah, it’s that bad. Public transportation is not where you want to be at such a time. Fortunately, one of our visitors has Bayer aspirin in her purse, so I pop 3 and watch my field of vision diminish with every second, the blind calm before the piercing-nauseating-headache storm. After a couple stops, I’m able to curl in a seat and await my fate, so I close my eyes and realize ever so soon that the train is no longer moving, though we aren’t yet to the next station. An announcement from the driver blares through the car to inform us that “someone decided to go for a walk on the tracks between Lancaster Gate and Queensway stations,” so we’ll be held there until further word. The electricity needs to shut off, so we’re left with the emergency lights and the stuffy heat of the Underground tunnel. Subsequent announcements yield little additional information, other than that the culprit is believed to have stolen a handbag before fleeing along the tracks (rookie mistake, I say), so we need to wait for the authorities to capture him. Meanwhile, a request for a doctor comes over the loudspeaker, as a pregnant passenger is now suffering complications. Even in my comatose state, I can’t help but smile at the drama of it all.
Long story (not nearly as long as the freaking wait on that train) short, after 20 minutes or so, we got rolling again and were let out at Lancaster Gate, where I opened my eyes and realized I wasn’t blind anymore, nor with headache. Bravo, Bayer! Ascending back into the glorious daylight with our little mole eyes, we saw Kensington Gardens directly across the street and decided to frolic—well, no, walk—across it and catch a taxi home on the high street opposite, bringing us to the peaceful conclusion of our eventful day.
The following day made up for everything in its sheer fabulousness—it was London Fashion Weekend! I went with a few gals to shop around the sample sales and view the catwalk show at Somerset House near Temple Tube station, and how psyched was I to see one of the runway models was Jade from the last season (Cycle 5) of Britain’s Next Top Model! I had rooted for her all along… I ventured out of the swarm of fashionistas having done no worse damage than purchase a couple pairs of sunglasses to shade my eyes the next time an unruly migraine comes on :).
Just another weekend when you’re living in London…