Despite my not so distant ancestral roots, the UK took us a while to love. In fact, it took decades. In our youth we struggled with the weather, the food and the prices. We spent the first 6 weeks of our aforementioned epic journey in 1972 traveling through England, Scotland and Wales in our tiny, red Renault 4L. The weather was gray throughout–except a 1/2 day of sun in Barmouth, Wales, and a hazy, hot and humid day in London. We couldn’t wait to get back to the Continent to begin a trip that would eventually lead to both our careers.
We dutifully returned with our kids in 1989 to expose them to their heritage. As I recall, it rained slightly less. But it was SO expensive!! And still, pretty gray overall. We did not love it. Fish and chips can only take you so far. And yet now the prices do not seem quite as exorbitant. It’s equally expensive pretty much everywhere.
It was in the winter of 2019 that we fell in love. We made the good decision to spend a few days in transit to Egypt and stayed in the iconic St Ermin’s hotel (more in another post) in Westminster. We walked. We ate. We drank. We walked some more–which is pretty much what we do everywhere. We found it beautiful. We enjoyed the food. We couldn’t wait to come back. And we did. This is our third time since then, and the more we come, the more we love it.
This time, our arrival on Aer Lingus through Dublin (we had vouchers from a cancelled trip in 2020) was less than brilliant. For the first time we had a hired driver to pick us up at Heathrow. The connection was a little rocky. He kept trying to contact me on WhatsApp instead of all the other ways to contact me, and I didn’t know I had to re-register the app because I have a new phone. But we did find him. The ride to St Ermin’s was really long. It was hot. There was a ton of traffic. I’m honestly not sure I would do that again (the train to Paddington + taxi to hotel is about the same price but quicker). But he did have a Tesla, which was cool. We were so exhausted when we arrived that we wondered if maybe we were too old to do this. But we soldiered through the day and were rewarded with a gorgeous golden hour walk through Westminster to the Thames and back. We had a lovely dinner and slept really well. We woke up our normal, energetic selves! What’s next?