Sunday, 5 June 2011

London, I Like You Very Much. Just As You Are.

So, we were totally in London last week.

And it basically rocked.

This wasn't a spur-of-the-moment getaway though.

Back in January, Dan and I sat down and tried to figure out where we wanted to go this year since one of the motivations to move to Switzerland was to take advantage of it's central location, and get some more travelling under our belts.

We spent all our holiday time last year just hiking and being with our guests, which was the only thing we wanted to do, but this year in between entertaining family our goal is to go beyond the borders. Since we are lucky enough to be hosting family three times this year (!! hooray !!), it was decided that a few long-weekend getaways will work best for our own personal holidays, and the first place we decided to go was...LONDON.

But we weren't entirely sure when we were going to be able to make it to London, just that it was going to be our first trip. March wasn't possible because we were too busy having an amazing time hosting Marc and Wynter, we needed April to recover from March, and we knew in advance that Dan's work schedule in May was out of control. So even though we knew London was happening eventually, it still seemed like a great surprise when Dan came home and announced that he was definitely going to be able to grab a week of holidays at the end of May, before my parents got here in June.

We booked everything the next day and then I proceeded to dance jigs and fire off elated emails to my family every day for almost four days. I think they were ready to kick me, but since that's not logistically possible they may have added me to their SPAM filters because I stopped getting enthused responses.

Dan and I chose to see London because it holds appeal for both of us: Dan is a history buff and I'm an anglophile.

My crush on England probably starts with my Grandad, since this was the land from which he hailed, but it really got out of control when I started reading James Herriot's books. This is bizarre, but I was a ten year old child who was majorly infatuated with a veterinarian who started practicing medicine in the 1930's. It couldn't be helped though, because Herriot's lively descriptions of the Yorkshire people, animal husbandry, and the landscape of the Dales completely drew me in. I remember announcing to my parents that one day I was going to England and I was going to meet James Herriot.

Then I marched into my room to practice veterinary medicine on my sister's stuffed animals.

James Herriot (real name James Alfred Wight) died in 1995 and I was absolutely crushed when I read about it because I still really wanted to meet him and get him to autograph my books.  At this same time though, there was a different British citizen with whom I was enamoured, and I even had a poster of him hanging above my bed. Of course I mean Prince William, and it is really sad to think about how many hours I devoted to plotting ways I could get to England. Because once there, OBVIOUSLY HE'D NOTICE ME.

Since I have no shame, I will disclose with you all my fourteen year old self's fool-proof method for getting Wills to fall madly in love her: quite simply, I would arrive in England, borrow a massive Irish Wolfhound from someone, and then go for a jog in front of the palace.


Up and down in front of the gilded gates for as long as it took for Prince William to look out his window and notice the sweaty adolescent with a huge dog running around in front of his driveway. At this point he obviously would rush outside to introduce himself to the acne-ridden stalker with the massive dog, because *duh* who wouldn't want to do that?

It was such a simple plan.

My crush on Wills went away, but over the years I remained smitten with all things England, and other British devotions included: Fawlty Towers, Colin Firth, Keeping Up Appearances (Fact: I once refused to go out on a Saturday night because the Knowledge Network was playing a marathon of this show. The Lame Police can arrest me now.), Colin Firth, Dickens, the Brontes, Sophie Kinsella, sometimes Austen, Are You Being Served?, assorted poets depending on my age and relationship status, Yorkshire puddings drowned in gravy (especially those made by my sister), Nigella Lawson, Harry Potter, Jamie Oliver, NEVER Gordon Ramsay, and...Colin Firth.

So as I bubbled away about how excited I was to see Buckingham Palace, go to vintage clothing stores, spend time in that mecca known as Top Shop, drool over the crown jewels, and generally be a superficial tourist who was really only interested in being surrounded by a lot of British people, Dan was getting excited about other things.

Namely, museums.

Portrait Galleries! Imperial War Museums! The Tower of London! The British National Museum! Churchill's bunker!

"Oh. Well...what do you think the gift shops are like?"

Kidding! I'm not that terrible Internet. I obviously knew the gift shops wouldn't be that good.

So the thing about Dan and I is we know how to compromise, and our four days in London were a perfect balance of history and frivolity. And since we had such a good time, we both agree that London has been a charming appetizer to a later (unknown) feast where we will hopefully tour more of the U.K., and at the very least return to London again.

Pictures to come.


T said...

I had a picture of Prince William on my wall too! Also I was in love with Colin Firth until I found out that so was my mom... (although I still am, I just don't mention it around her).

Can't wait to see the pictures!

Habebi said...

How awesome is that?! Jon and I are still trying to see if we can escape for a weekend-ish; it's nice to hear a success story like yours! Glad you two had a wonderful time. Can't wait to see some pics!

Helen said...

I love that you had a plan to snare William! I have to ask though, why an Irish Wolfhound in particular?

You feel about England the way I feel about Canada! I hope it lived up to your expectations. If you'd like some recommendations of other places to visit on your next trip give me a shout and I'm happy to oblige.

Caitie said...

T--Oh Colin Firth. Trust me, I looked for him but he wasn't to be seen. Sigh.

Habebi--The weekend escapes work great if your forseeable weeks look scary! I hope that you guys can manage something too :-)

Helen--Thanks for the offer! I will definitely bend your ear if this dream becomes more of a reality. The Irish Wolfhound was my dog of choice because it is quite large, hence more visible, lean enough to withstand a lenghty jog, and in an emergency (say, PW is looking out the window but isn't rushing to meet me quite as fast as he should be) I could somehow wrangle the situation so as to appear to be in distress with the unmanageable beast, and PW would imminently rush to my side. To say I had an active imagination would be an understatement.

Anonymous said...

Happy to hear you enjoyed yourself! The offer still stands to stay with us if you do decide to venture further afield in the UK!

If not, can I recommend Budapest for a future mini-break? We were there last weekend and it is AMAZING!