Thursday, February 21, 2008

Falling in Love - with London-Town

London. By myself. No baby in tow, no hubby to compromise with. Not only did I see most of central London by foot, but I shopped, over-ate, popped into a day spa, and even indulged in a quick makeover at MAC Cosmetics, in London's trendy Covent Garden. In short, I felt like Queen for a day.

Speaking of whom, I got to see her in the flesh while dining at the Bag O Nails pub, adjecent to Buckingham Palace. Well, to be fair, I didn't actually see her, but four coaches, one of which was reportedly carrying "Her Majesty". Understandably, she keeps the windows to her coach closed for security purposes, but it's a wonder to me that she still travels with horse and carriage in this day and age. And, best of all, I caught all of this from my warm, second story window seat, while enjoying a traditional roast with yorkshire pudding. A perfect way to start my adventures in London.

The International Champagne Bar, where I attended a networking event for media professionals.

From there I walked through Hyde Park before hopping onto on of those quintessential, albeit super-touristy, bus jaunts, followed by walking, walking and more walking. One of the best things about London is that its inner core is easily explored by foot (something I missed in sprawling Paris). In fact, I have to admit that I enjoyed London much more as a whole. There's just something familiar about it, despite the fact that I've only been there a couple times. Be it the Starbucks, Subways, multitude of cafés, or fabulous absence of a (significant) language barrier, it somehow feels like home (wherever that may be). Yes, there is royal family, but somehow London doesn't feel pretentious. Also, there's no obvious dislike of foreigners - a definite plus, and the Londoners I spoke to seemed even content with their melting pot (although current newspaper headlines boast "Benefit cuts for migrants under citizenship plan" and "Britain may abolish ancestry visa").

Also intruiging is how London somehow manages to inspire romance, despite the cold (and it was very, very cold). I wish Tobi could have been there with me... I could just see us having a candle-lit dinner in Piccadilly Circus, followed by a few hours at our theatre of choice.

Yes, romance is very much alive in London-Town, so it's fitting that it serves as the backdrop of one of history's most remade love songs - A Foggy Day. Foggy as it might be, that London has remained both romantic and cherished - despite it's crap weather - well, that's saying a lot. As for the sunshine, well, next time I'll bring my own.

Back in sleepy Oudelande, Lukas did great. It was his first night without Mama, but he barely seemed to notice I was gone. Independence is a double-edged sword, isn't it?

Well, while it's nice to know that I can take off from time-to-time if necessary, I sure am happy to be "home". All else aside, that's certainly where my heart is.

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