London: Day Two

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and fixed a cup of instant coffee that the hotel provided.  For me, I really didn’t care.  In fact, I drank two cups before heading down to the dinning room for breakfast.  Needed a little boost – perhaps the time change?   No, didn’t have my coffee in the dinning room.  Did I mention that I was upgraded to a suite?  See the picture of the dinning room below?  No need to see the other pictures – you get the idea.

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The breakfast in the hotel’s dinning room was complimentary, so I made sure to try a little bit of everything and since it was my first English breakfast.  Included was this incredibly strong coffee, which I loved!  After breakfast I tried to take a nap, but after the strong coffee … no way.  I used the time to resolve or update tasks that I didn’t get done before leaving Portland.  They were all “C” priority (nice to have) but still was good to have them done.  Headed toward St. James’s Square so I could sit in one of the park benches there.  Why? Okay, so here is the story about the park bench in St. James’s Square…

The Vision:  When a project manager, I worked best when I could image what “finished” looked like.  The short story is that for my retirement adventure I imagined sitting on a park bench in St. James’s Square in London.  To do so, I knew that I had completed everything that needed to be done in order for me to start the adventure.  Why St. James’s Park – probably a place I heard on Downton Abby.  (Probably!)  Why a park bench – don’t know that either.  The combination of the two made sense – so that was my vision, my goal.

Now back to the events of the day…

Leaving the hotel, I decided to head to St. James’s Square.  On the way I would pass by Kensington Gardens, Queens Gate, Prince Albert’s Hall, memorial status to Prince Albert, and a memorial to Wellington.  And had lunch near Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner, the sandwich was tuna and sweet corn – not something that I’d normally try, but why not?  And I liked it!

St. James’s Square is just off Piccadilly and down a lane of very nice shops.  The square has some very well-appointed homes, businesses, and clubs surrounding the private park (closes at 4:30 p.m.).  I took a few laps around the park to find just the right park bench for me to sit.  I couldn’t decide. But as it happens, when I let go of expectations, the bench found me along with the person to take my picture.  He and the bench looked approachable, so I asked him if he would take my picture sitting on the bench.  I didn’t give a reason, but he took my camera when offered and documented my sitting in a bench in St. James’s Square.  But it isn’t really the picture, it is that my objective is complete and did what I was out to accomplish, for no other reason that to know that I was at a point in life where I could turn the corner and head off in some new direction.  And I am.  Not sure what it will look like. How did I feel sitting on the park bench and afterward?  All I can say is that I didn’t feel any different, but I did turn a corner.  No trumpets, sirens, fireworks, harps, or anything like that.  What happens next – we shall see.  I took some other pictures to commemorate this event.  (See pictures below.)

After that experience I headed back to the hotel to get ready for the next AirBnB stay and to meet up with Ben, who I was introduced to a few years ago and currently lives and works in London and with extensive European travel experience. We met up at the flat I’ll live in for the next four days and he helped me check it out along with the person giving the tour. We then went off to a pub and talked about a variety of subjects about living in different places, careers, retirement, philanthropy, and what SIM card I can use in my phone. Good to connect with someone who has been-there / done-that and gets it too.  I’ll catch up with him when I return to London towards the end of the year.  I’d like to be in London during the Christmas season. Many adventures between now and then…

IMG_20160707_142826946_HDRMe, sitting in park bench

IMG_20160707_141527388_HDR Made it!!

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