What I’ll remember most about yesterday was the soaring temperature, the dry air and sticky skin, fidgeting and grinning from overwhelming excitement and anticipation and the shear relief of hearing an almost lost voice and having a hug I have missed. The last time I was in London was a little under a year ago and last time I saw Kat was a little over 2 years and 2 weeks ago. I love both immensely, for wildly different reasons but I don’t see either as much as I would like.
Kat was my roommate while I was studying in America, I hadn’t shared a room since I was eight and despised the idea of having no solitary escape. Kat made having a roommate not only bearable but a wonderful part of my experience in America. She made what had been a sparse and gloomy room, home by filling it with trinkets, colour, noise and friendship. When I finally returned to Britain and my own room, I felt like someone had ripped away part of my being, she had been such a big part of my life it was odd to now have a life and a room without her.
I can’t remember ever really doing the tourist thing in London but who could say no to that chance and seeing an old friend?? London has never disappointed me but to look at everything through the eyes of a traveller was incredible. No one cares that it is over crowed, with people rushing or the expense; we were idle and easy going, swapping stories, answering question (seriously who knew I could regurgitate so much crap about the Royals) and filling her in on a whistle stop tour of London and Britain’s culture and quirks.
We started at London Bridge before following the South Bank of the Thames to the Globe. I love it at the Globe there is so much history there and the white round architecture always amuses me. We than went next door to the Tate, which I have to say is an extraordinarily ugly building considering it houses some beautiful art work. Yesterday they also had a BBQ outside, expensive but good. We followed the burger with a walk across the Millennium Bridge (the one that gets destroyed in the Harry Potter films) to S. Pauls on the opposite side of the river. This is a stunning building and the gardens at the beginning of summer smell fantastic. We strolled up The Mall to Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Trafalgar Square where we people watched whilst discussing education, politics, art, music and sports just like when we were hiding in our room pretending to work. We found time to squeeze in a visit to St. James Park, Piccadilly Circus before it got dark and we arrived in Leicester Square it got dark and finally we ate at a proper English pub (or at least as proper as it gets in London).
I loved every moment of it even when my camera died, particularly that I was acting like a complete tourist. When I go to London I go to shop, to the theatre or an exhibition, for work, I don’t see London, it’s just another city. I adored yesterday because I felt like I was seeing bits I had missed and because I was with amazing people. I was with Kat and in a prolonged moment of a day, doing all those things was so much better. So here is the upside to being a bit older, I can afford to go to London and buy my friend dinner. I can spend the day doing nothing and it be a wonderful guilty pleasure because I can drop everything and still go to work the next day. I’m now old enough to have a friend from years ago who lives in a different country and maintain it.