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The Ups and Downs of Being a Tourist…

Mother Nature's Perfection
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Whenever I travel, I always seem to have a meltdown day about midway through my trip. On my honeymoon, it was the day we went to see the Arc de Triomphe and I flipped out over not wanting to cross the street to see it up close. I was hot – it was hotter in Paris than it was in Houston that day – my legs hurt, I was tired, I was hungry, I was sweating, there was no air conditioning anywhere. Poor Mike, I totally caught him off guard when he said he wanted to walk over there and I flipped out. Why? Why would you want to do that? It is the Arc. See it? It is right there. Not going to look any different up close!

Uh, yeah. I was wrong. There are really cool carvings and it was worth taking the tunnel under the street over to see it. I apologized after we ate. We joke about it still to this day.

Today was one of those days. I hope I have it out of my system now, because I can not handle another one. The day had some really fabulous highs, but it also had some pretty bad lows.

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. If we close the light-blocking drapes, we sleep too well. So last night, we left them open. Thank you, Mr. Sunshine, for waking me up. I tossed around for a little while, and then realized that I was missing the BEST light for photographing Parliament. Late in the day, the sun is behind Parliament, so it is hard to take pictures of it. However, at 6am, the light is perfect. So I woke Mike to tell him that I was heading out. It was amazing to see London in this early morning light. People were already out, going to work on the bus, riding their bikes, jogging. In London, you walk miles every day – why on earth would you want to go and jog?

I left with an almost empty 1gb memory card in my camera. It holds 266 images at top jpg resolution. I returned with a full memory card. I went to Parliament, then down to St. James Park, over to Trafalgar Square, up to Hungerford Bridge, to the far side of the London Eye, and back to our hotel. I was gone until almost 7:30am.

I came back to the hotel, talked with Mike, downloaded my images, took care of some phone calls, and then – I crashed. I’ve been battling allergies all week, sneezing, scratchy throat, gunky eyes. It finally fully hit me today. I had to go back to bed. I set a wake-up call and went to sleep. When it was time to get up, I still felt miserable, so I lingered and ended up leaving the hotel late for the “Secrets & Splendors” walk that I planned to take at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It didn’t matter that I left late in the long run though, as the Central line of the tube was down. *grumble, grumble* So with transferring trains and walking, I ended up getting to St. Paul’s just 40 minutes before it formally closed.

However, as I left the tube stop that I ended up going to (Masion House), I turned and looked down the street and recognized the bank from Mary Poppins. That made me a bit giddy, and I sang “Feed the Birds” as I walked towards St. Paul’s. Then, as I crossed the street, out of nowhere it seemed – the dome appeared before me. It was breathtaking. All of the hassles with the tube were forgotten – well, at least softened a bit – and I explored the rose garden for a few minutes before heading inside. Once inside, I was stunned by the pure majesty of the Cathedral. It is amazing.

There were Evensong services today at 5pm, so after I explored the cathedral and visited the gift shop, I took a seat for Evensong. The music was beautiful and so soothing to my weary, tired spirit. It was moving to take part in worship in a place that has seen so much over the centuries. I can’t even find words to express how it made me feel.

Afterwards, I returned to the rose garden because everyone should stop and smell the roses. I sat for awhile and knit on the sock. Then it was time to pick up the camera and explore. That was when I found the beautiful specimen above. How perfect is that? I still can’t believe the symmetry and the circle in that flower. I have never seen anything like it.

I returned to the hotel where Mike had just returned from work. I had said that I wanted to go on the “Jack the Ripper Haunts” London Walks tour, but I simply didn’t have it in me. My feet just hurt too much, and my legs had almost given up on moving. Mike was also feeling worn down, so he was not keen on going to beghin with, so my decision worked out fine. He let me vent about my day, which was a tremendous relief. Then he listened as I shared the amazing details too. Afterwards, we headed out to dinner, this time walking on the Embankment side. It was so nice to just stroll in the evening with him. We had a nice meal, and then returned to the hotel to rest for awhile as we waited for Kayla to call. She came to the hotel and we headed to the hotel bar for a drink since the pubs had just closed. (They close at 11pm.) A quick phone call home to talk to Jason and my parents, and now it is time for bed. Tomorrow we will head out to the Royal Observatory to see the Prime Meridian, and then to a blogger meetup with Ann. Hopefully my sore, aching feet from today will not return, and the travel funk day is done.

Rose Garden, St. Paul's The Sock Visits St. Paul's

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

13 replies on “The Ups and Downs of Being a Tourist…”

Sorry you had a meltdown day – happens to everyone – but it sounds like you saw some amazing things. I bet London is beautiful in the morning; I can’t wait to see your pictures. The rose pic is gorgeous…you really have a good eye.
I too sang “Feed the Birds” while walking around outside St. Pauls (in fact, just you mentioning it has me humming). Glad I’m not the only one!

Okay, I want the butterflies and THAT rose. It’s breathtaking! I don’t pray the way most Christians do, but I think I would very much like to sit in and ancient church and absorb it’s essence. Sounds like some very full days, girl, do take care of yourself. And I still want to see some fish n chips.

Sorry you had a meltdown day – but it’s also nice to have someone admit that those days happen!!

I am really enjoying seeing London through your eyes (and with your traveling sock!).

What a lovely photo! I too get terrible allergies when in the UK in spring. I can’t stress enough how Clarytin (that’s how they spell it there) saved me. You should try it. (it wasn’t available without prescription here when I first went to the UK, so I brought about 10 boxes home with me!) I hope you get another chance to do the Ripper walk. I did it on my last trip there and I went with ex-Scotland Yard Policeman/Ripperologist Donald Rumbelow. See if you can go on his walk. It’s really interesting! (And creepy, too! – I slept with the lights on for three days after.)

I so want to have a trip to the UK before I pass from this world. I would have to be there for 2 weeks just to touch on the things I would like to do while there and I think a visit to the Cathedral would be among that list.

Thank you so much for providing pictures. I can’t wait to see more. I’ll bet that is one happy sock that it got to visit St. Pauls….would it be too weird to admit to being jealous of a darn sock? LOL!

Sounds like you are enjoying your trip, and making the most of it. You seem like you have been going everywhere. My husband and I love the Jack the Ripper tour. Make sure you go to the 10 bells for a pint, that is where he met one of his victims. It is very authentic. I am hoping that you make it out to Stash as I have been following your blog and would love to meet you!

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