I’m straying from my normal postings and turning this into a travel blog for now. If for no other reason, than my poor memory means all the little details of our long awaited adventure will be forgotten if I don’t write it down.
For five years we’ve planned it – three months in Europe. I’ve yearned to travel since I was a little girl but finances made it impossible. On my 40th birthday I had my first overseas holiday – a week in Thailand with friends. Since then I’ve managed three more trips plus a very luxurious cruise. So this adventure is number six and it’s a big one. Big because we can (money put aside from an inheritance) and big because we may never do it again.
After five years of planning, the trip was almost cancelled at the eleventh hour. Our house flooded and needed to be gutted and repaired, which left me short of breath and puffing on an asthma inhaler all day long. But more worryingly, two weeks before departure, my husband was told he couldn’t fly without having heart surgery. It seemed impossible. But as others have said, the word impossible is literally I’m Possible. Then everything fell into place, his surgery was ten days before we left, recovery good and cleared for travel. Phew!
I finally relaxed when the wheels left the ground in Melbourne – we’re off! I’d paid rather a lot of money for our premium economy seats so was not impressed mine was broken – no footrest, the armrest constantly collapsed, and it wouldn’t recline. Halfway to Perth my back went into horrible spasms and I spent the rest of the flight curled up backwards on my seat sobbing my little heart out with the nice flight steward asking my husband if I’d be okay for the next leg of the flight to London. Yes I’ll be fine, I sobbed! As if I was going to cancel the trip now… I rummaged around in luggage and the newsagent at the Perth airport and found all the useful drugs I could scavenge, then swapped seats with my husband. For the next 17 hours I was a lot more comfortable, and due to the quantity of pharmaceuticals I’d salvaged, I even slept. We landed in London at 5am and headed straight to our airbnb apartment.
It was fabulous! Brand new and up on the 23rd floor with views overlooking London city. We spent five days meandering around London with no clue what we should do or look at. Found all the famous things and pointed them out to each other – ooh look, Big Ben covered in scaffolding! I saw Matilda the Musical (love, love, love!). We went through the Tower of London as I wanted to do at least one touristy thing. Caught up with two friends and generally recovered from jet lag and back pain. I found the most wonderful, kind, caring osteopath, who specialises in remedial sports massage and she spent a delightful 90 minutes realigning my back. As she gently lifted my legs to wiggle something or other into place, I gently farted in her general direction. I was so mortified. She just laughed and said it happens all the time. It was just a little odorless puff, but I was still apologising half an hour later.
Apparently we very cleverly arrived in the UK during a heatwave – near 30c most days. This was not part of my plan. The UK was meant to be our gentle introduction with nice mild temperatures before we go to hotter climes. Not so. They specialise in heating, not cooling. So I was hot, hot, hot. Even the apartment with aircon didn’t really have aircon – just a portable thing that didn’t work efficiently. I’m looking forward to Jordan so I can cool down a little.
We also spectacularly found the worst food and coffee London has to offer. After catching up with friends, we learned where to go, but left to our own devices we apparently consistently choose dreadful food. And I mean – dreadful. I’m now a convert to Wagamama – thank you Ben! If in doubt, I hunt one down and eat there. We haven’t had any bad culinary experiences since.
After our five days in London, where we walked at least 15 kilometers a day, photographed everything that looked British, became accustomed to the new time zone, and bemoaned the heat, we headed to Salisbury to collect a hire car and explore the English countryside. I’ll waffle about that in the next post 🙂