Arrived early early at London Heathrow on a mostly sunny day! And, though the immigration line was slow, the thought of skedaddling to our friend’s flat (a block away from Hyde Park), catching a quick nap after the overnight flight from Dulles, and then strolling along the Serpentine, helped the nearly hour long wait pass without too much anxiety. First time on the Heathrow Express and what a treat to zip from terminal 5 right to Paddington Station in about 20 minutes. Stepping off the train into that massive, iron-arched station said “Welcome to London!”
Today’s main objective was to visit Harrod’s food halls – 4 gorgeous halls devoted to comestibles of every kind. The seafood hall has a recessed ceiling with an oceanic theme, leather-covered stools to sit on while enjoying oysters or sushi; the chocolate hall (oh, there’s plenty of other confectionary, but my heart beats for cocoa!) includes fantastic displays of enticing goodies, many packaged in iconic Harrod’s boxes and tins. The fruits and vegetables hall has ornate chandeliers and everywhere is lovely old tiling. My idea of a perfect sleepover? In a Harrod’s food hall with carte blanche to picnic!
The Seafood Hall
But for this evening, we’re just home from shopping for dinner at the local Waitrose market…and putting some pence aside for a treat tomorrow!
TIP: Stay with friends if possible – there’s no better way to feel more like a resident than a tourist. Shopping for food like the locals is fun and eating meals at “home” saves a bit of cash for a splurge meal another time. If you don’t happen to have a friend, try airbnb! More another time on this superb network for finding a place to sleep that’s more home than hotel. Often, you can cook your own meals in your airbnb host homes.
About to head to the airport for the flight to London – a few days later we’ll head to Delhi. Excited to put my new boots (light-weight, high tops, pretty color!) to work exploring London-town and then India. Here’s what they look like now, in the front yard snow!
Merrell boots before trip!
After living around the world for nearly 20 years, it has only taken a little more than 5 back in the U.S.A. to infect us with not just a travel bug, but with an urgent “where should we go and how long shall we stay” full-blown virus. Combining that with having arrived at a certain age (the one where we’ve written our final college tuition check and decided to take a sabbatical from work) – well, we’ve decided it’s time to travel and see what we discover about ourselves along the way.
My husband had no trouble calling himself “retired,” while my reaction to being asked “so what’s it like to be retired” after leaving my wonderful job was to respond, “retire…I’m not retired, I’m exploring, I’m consulting, I’m rebalancing…” It was pretty clear, pretty quick, that the traditional definition of “retired” was not the one that would work for me; or many others, if all the articles and blogs about the “new retirement” and “the adult gap year” are any measure. We’ve got energy, ambition, and curiosity to devote to fashioning a new kind of second-half!
I hope you’ll join us from time to time and see how one couple is redefining what it means to say farewell (at least temporarily) to fulltime employment, and figure out how to fully the live rest of our lives. Come along with us!
From time to time, we might look back at some of the wonderful places we’ve travelled and lived – pondering, should we go back to where we’ve been before? Or explore someplace new? What do you think? We lived in Vienna, Austria where this picture was taken.
The Christmas markets, where mugs of warm spiced wine kept us warm.