Jet lag sure hit me hard this trip…yowza! I decided to sleep in on Day 5 to attempt to get myself back on track before heading to Paris, and boy did I seem to need it! I slept til’ about 1pm and then decided to set only 2 things on my agenda for the day instead of my normal 12.
After lazily taking a shower I hopped on the tube towards Wimbledon. Yep! Wimbledon! Ever since I was little, one of my favorite things to do with my Dad is watch tennis – especially the Wimbledon Championships. I remember the days of McEnroe, Sampras, Graf, and Agassi (my all time favs) and enjoy watching tennis to this day…although I can’t stand Federer…blah! Unfortunately, I now seem to just scream and shout during a match – ask my husband who has already banned me from our future children’s sporting events…
I lucked out with an incredibly beautiful day to explore the area of Wimbledon, although all of my days here in London have been fantastic as far as weather goes. Lee, Ben, and John all agreed the other morning at breakfast that “young people” my age “don’t even know Fahrenheit anymore”…so I figured I would follow suit, and announce that it has been a gorgeous 20-22 degrees Celsius for the majority of my days here, and I couldn’t be happier!
Reflecting back on my afternoon in Wimbledon I had SUCH a great time. The area itself is especially cute and quite, and the 2 mile walk to the Wimbledon Tennis Museum and Centre Court was just perfect. The leaves were falling, the sun was shining (even to the point that I had to remove all of my usual layers…ahhh), and the history that resonated in the area gave me the goosies. I’m not the biggest art buff, so this sports museum was just up my ally…I ate it up. What I found to be most fascinating was that I literally felt like my Pop was along for the entire ride…I can’t wait to get home and show you pics Dad!
I left Wimbledon feeling refreshed and ready to conquer London. I dropped off into Hyde Park to finish the afternoon with a little stroll and I was so glad I did. Watching all the adorable ducks and swans in the Serpentine against the orange and pink sunset was so refreshing. Not being sure where to head for dinner, I decided to ask a local street vendor while purchasing some postcards. I had read in one of the London morning papers that fish and chips were “out” as the national food and curry was “in”. Yeah, curry! I was sent in the direction of Bayswater and told that there was a fantastic Indian Restaurant with “the best curry in town.”
OMG. Yes, yes this WAS the BEST CURRY EVER! Although the service was awful (I was warned), the food was indescribable; it was just magnificent. I ate what had to be 3 servings or more of the scrumptious garlic nan, vegetable curry and pulao rice….YUMMY! YUMMY! YUMMY! The frightening walk back to the tube alone in the dark was totally worth it (sorry Adam and Lars – I survived it though)!
Decades of tennis balls.
It was so neat to see the brackets up from this summer’s championship.
My reflection off the glass as I snapped a shot of the seats around Centre Court at Wimbledon.
The Serpentine River at sunset.
The Rose Garden in Hyde Park.
I woke up the next day and my first thought (no joke) was “I want MORE curry!” Dang, it was just that good. Instead of investing more time in Indian delicacies, I set out for one last day of sightseeing. I began the day with a trip to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. It was quite bizarre knowing that many of the famous royal beheadings happened behind those walls, including Henry VIII’s two wives…yick. The Tower Bridge was quite astonishing, and seemed just massive against the River Thames floating underneath.
I followed my Tower excursion with a visit to Soho, Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery. I loved all the hustle and bustle of Soho, and Trafalgar Square was just littered with locals and tourists alike, all munching on their lunches and feeding the pigeons. It was beautiful to see Big Ben in the distance, and I couldn’t help but pop a squat and take in all that the square had to offer. I also decided to venture into the National Gallery directly behind me (a free, YES FREE!!!! art museum) and was SOOOOOO glad I did. I got to see the works of some of my most favorite artists including Van Gogh (the Sunflowers, and the Chair), Monet (a few of his water lilies), Renoir, and also Degas. With the National Gallery being my only visit to an art museum during my stay in London, I’m convinced that my visit was that much more special and significant.
Not wanting to be late for the theatre. I rushed back to my room and changed into a mini and boots. I ate a scrumptious Italian dinner in Victoria before heading in to Victoria Palace Theatre for the 7:30pm showing of Billy Elliot. I felt incredibly special to get the opportunity to fulfill one of my dreams of seeing a real live play in London, and was over the moon when the show began with a burst of singing, dancing, bright costume and décor.
The next 3 hours of my life were indescribable. Not knowing what Billy Elliot was about before I went, I was blindsided by the intense amount of emotion I felt during the show. I wept (yes, I cried my eyes out) during the majority of show, realizing that THIS show, yes, THIS show, was exactly what I had been needing. This show was the exact something I needed to inspire me to conquer my fears, and follow my heart and my passions. A twelve year old fictional character named Billy Elliot made me feel like I could “fly” and resist the urge to do “what everyone else is doing” but instead follow a dream, my dream.
The show was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life. Being alone in a dark, crowded theater, I was able to really let go, and actualize all of my past experiences that brought me to where I am today. I reflected on all of the people, experiences, disappointments, failures, successes, and triumphs that made me who I am today. I imbedded every ounce of inspiration that the show had to offer into my soul, and I was literally rocked to my core. I thanked my lucky stars as I left the theatre and hit the dark streets of London, knowing that whoever, or whatever, sent me in the direction of that play (a play and plot that I knew nothing about prior to viewing it) was pushing me along my path…the path of my heart…
Tomorrow I’m on to Paris where things are sure to become a bit more luxurious, but also a bit more nerve-racking. Despite 6+ years of French language studies, including 2 years in college, I can barely speak a of lick of French – my brain just never seemed to want to learn a second language…go figure. We shall see how this goes! Bonjour Paris! Au revoir London!
P.S. No pics of my night out at the theatre. Left my camera back in my room because I thought I wouldn’t want to fuss with it. So no Billy pics : (
The Tower of London.
St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Trafalgar Square, with Big Ben in the background.
The National Gallery.