This morning I said goodbye to my friend Courtney who had been visiting me for the last 10 days. Of course, because I always do, I cried when she left. We’ve had such a fun time together and work reality will really set back in now that she’s gone and I don’t really have excuses not to get things done!
I guess I should (since I kind of use this blog like a journal) just give a run down of our days….Court got here on Saturday the 23rd and I almost attacked her in the pick-up area of Heathrow Airport when she first appeared. There was some worry expressed that we’d “go all American” and scream while jumping up and down upon seeing each other. I only did a minimum of that so as not to disturb the English restraint of emotion- HA! (Just kidding, sort of, to any English people reading this!)
We got back to Chesham and headed to the next closest town for some lunch since Chesham is wholly lacking in decent restaurants. Courtney needed a few hours nap and then we headed to “Old Chesham” and went to the Queens Head pub where they have awesome Thai food and good drinks. It is my favorite place to hang out in Chesham (there aren’t many options, so really, it wins by default but it is still great nonetheless!) and the atmosphere is really mellow. I have made the mistake of thinking that tipping was necessary there before (it isn’t) so I’ve definitely spent a chunk of change in there since I arrived.
I should mention that this is NOT the Queens Head but another pub in Chesham which is quite trashy but has an AMAZING jukebox. You can hear everything from Journey, to gangsta rap, to Stevie Wonder. So enjoyable!
The next day we slept in and a bunch of us piled into a taxi for a traditional English, Sunday pub roast lunch. We all had roast lunches and spent the afternoon hanging out which eventually led into the evening and a few ‘senior pictures’ around the pub. It is not very often that I get to have lots of drinks in the middle of day but when you are on “holiday” it is imperative that one does that. The pub was really cozy with kids and dogs running everywhere. My little neighbor, Tom, even had his naptime there and just curled up on a bench next to the fire and slept! So adorable! Courtney and I tried to curl up on the same bench, but it didn’t really go as well.
Pubs in England are for more than just drinking. They are just for hanging out and spending time somewhere. Even without alcohol, I LOVE the pub culture of England!
Monday we piled in the car and headed to Warwick (pronounced War-rick) to see a medieval castle and a cute village. It was an amazingly huge castle but given that it was about $40 to get in, we decided to admire it from the outside. More driving found us in Stratford-upon-Avon where our dear friend Will (William Shakespeare) is from. We decided to refer to it as Stratford-upon-Mary Kay as we were sure that was the Avon to which they were referring when naming it! Stratford-upon-Revlon is an adorable English town with many buildings that are original and hundreds of years old. We saw Shakespeare’s house (again, didn’t go in due to the extreme cost!) and just walked around. Since it was a school holiday for everyone in England, Stratford was quite crowded.
On Tuesday, we woke up and headed into London on the tube. It was absolutely pouring and crazy windy, which really makes for awesome weather when you are touring around a big city. We walked for miles up and down the Thames and then to Covent Garden, which is a big shopping area. We had dinner on a riverboat on the Thames River overlooking Big Ben- really? Really? It is so crazy. I kept saying to Courtney, “we’re in England together….weird!” After a long, convoluted, certain stations & lines closed ride home, we packed for Hamsterdam!
We decided to share a bag, which would later prove to be a ridiculous fiasco when we saw the steep staircases in the 400 year old canal houses in Amsterdam. On one staircase (I’mgoing to put a picture but it just won’t do it justice!) I had to put the bag on like a backpack while Court stood a step above me and pulled the bag upwards from above. We laughed so hard we could barely stand up straight! Our flight left quite early and so we got picked up from the airport at 6 am- for some reason in my life, I NEVER get to fly out/in at a normal time of day when I don’t have to stay up crazy late or get up crazy early.
We arrived in Amsterdam to pouring rain and a language full of O’s, J’s, and other letter combinations we couldn’t decipher! When we were first looking at Dutch, we couldn’t remember the word in the time it would take to look from the street sign to the map. Every single street, we would have to look back and forth about 12 times between the sign and the map and we still walked in massive circles dragging a huge bag behind us in the rain! We FINALLY found our canal house which turned out that we had our own little apartment on the fourth floor overlooking a canal and the red light district.