“You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” – Samuel Johnson
Time flies. Our final day in London arrived so quickly. I know I will be back in London (for longer next time) so I’m fine with not rushing around to see the 3-million things we missed. There just isn’t enough time and I had decided, before I arrived, not to speed around with tunnel vision to “see all the must-see sites.” I would rather just hang out and wander the city. Wander we did.
We woke up early, with the intention of finally making it out to Hampton Court… lesson learned from the day prior. Unfortunately, (of course!) I woke up with a horrible stomach-ache. May I remind you, “whatever can go wrong will.” Now, I’m not much of a complainer and hate to waste time, or even work days, being sick… but this was one hell of an ache. Despite getting ready and making it halfway to the tube station, I couldn’t continue. It just hurt too bad. I bid Kenia and Mom farewell and trudged the short distance back to the room to sleep it off. (Happy that I could actually move around the room without disturbing the chick that NEVER left the room, would sigh like she was hemorrhaging anytime someone made noise, and unplugged my phone to use the charger?! Who the hell does that?! Don’t touch my stuff! Now I have a dead battery still. Sorry… random outburst.)
After a short nap, I thank-god woke up pain-free. I wasn’t getting a hold of Kenia on her phone (missing one of the damn zeros in the country code), so I got ready to head out on my own. At just that moment, I received a text from a friend I met last year in Madrid. I was hoping to meet with Stephen and finally on the last day our plans coincided. Back down in Picadilly, we met up, grabbed a couple of drinks, and caught up on the happenings of the last year. We had meant to meet back up my last day in Madrid to no avail…but what’s a year between friends? Simply an extended rain-check.
After some laughs and couple drinks, we parted ways with plans to meet that evening. He headed to work, I headed to the Tower of London. I was determined to get a little Tudor history during my stay! A key Tudor Castle. The site of notorious Anne Boleyn’s beheading; and Catherine Howard’s, Jane Grey’s etc. etc. A royal palace that became the prison for aristocracy. A lot of treason accusations floating around. Queen Elizabeth I was even imprisoned here during Bloody Mary’s reign. There are loads more Tower stories in the scandalous, but fascinating history of the Tudors. It was powerful walking through a place I’ve read so much about. I picture what it looked like and sounded like then. Long gowns dusting the stone hallways, scandals in the dark corners, plotting in the rooms, despair in the tower.
I browse everywhere, including the spectacular, shining Crown Jewels. That is a lot of jewels and gold in one long room! I’m more interested in history than jewelry and finery, so I’m quickly back outside. As I walk along this small city within walls, I see the Thames just below… and the iconic Tower Bridge just beyond. After my visit of the Tower, I wandered around the area for a while and finally decided to head back and try to catch up with my travel partners.
That night we went out for a late dinner in Regent’s Park and then I made my way to Soho to meet back up with Stephen. They decided to call it an early night (still remembering the pains of our day after the Dublin Pub Crawl surely), so I ventured out alone to meet my favorite Irishman. I, too, had planned to make it an early night, but didn’t even come close. We found a cozy bar and time just flew by. A bus ride back to Camden and a short walk to the hostel and we were parting ways with a promise to meet up at this time again next year, in another new city.
I think it’s a great plan.