Monday, 16 December 2019

DoubleTree by Hilton – Westminster (London, England)

I’m finding it difficult to begin writing a daily blog again after having so much time off. That is my excuse for not staying current and I’m not in the habit of making excuses. Perhaps another indicator that I’m getting close to wrapping up my travels, though I have another six months before returning to the U.S.

The trip to London went well and arrived at the hotel in good shape. I found out when I arrived that the hotel is in the process of remodeling so I’m prepared for hearing construction sounds during the day, but since I plan to be out and about it shouldn’t be an issue.

I visited a nearby Sainsbury’s and found a few items for dinner, milk, and some beer for my room’s mini-fridge. On the way to the store I dropped off a sweater to be dry cleaned. The hotel is in a very convenient location to a number of local business and to an underground station. Think I’ll like it here.

Csabi said that he would meet me in London tomorrow so will look forward to having his company for a couple of days.

On Saturday I decided I needed to do something with my phone. It seemed to be a bit better, but not much, in London – but it still gives me a message that there is moisture in the phone. I visited a nearby Carphone Warehouse store and decided to get a new phone rather than try to get the phone repaired. I found one that was an upgrade and had a few more features. Of course I enjoyed loading up the new phone with my applications and getting it configured.

Saturday evening I walked to St Martin-in-the-Fields church to attend a candlelight Christmas concert. While it was a bit chilly outside I had enough warm clothes to make the walk enjoyable. I found my seat next to a couple, who were about my age, and enjoyed talking with them about travel adventures during the interval (intermission, as we call it in the states). They lived in West Germany during the 70’s and I heard about what it was like to live there when the country was divided.

The concert was made up of the church’s ensemble singers and a small brass orchestra (Brandenburg Brass), along with the church’s pipe organ, who accompanied the singers. Of course we had a few songs that were sung by us in the audience. The carols are almost like the ones we sing in the states but I have to be careful with some of the words and melody.

Since I hadn’t had dinner before the concert so I stopped at a McDonald’s on the way back to the hotel. It was about this time I decided to take an Uber back to the hotel rather than walk. (I didn’t want my food to get cold?)

Yesterday morning I met Csabi at Euston station and we got caught up at a nearby Costa Coffee. We took the underground to the Pimlico station and visited the store where I purchased the phone to pick up an additional USB charging cord since the new phone’s charging port needed a different kind of USB plug.

That night we went to a nice Italian restaurant and shared a bottle of wine while we talked and ate our dinner. After dinner we took the underground to Covent Garden to see the Christmas displays and then walked over to Regent Street to see their displays.

Csabi wanted to buy a few treats before we ordered an Uber to take us back to the hotel. I was a bit sore from walking so much during the day and was thankful that we could get an Uber. (Also thankful for the treats.) I’m still getting used to walking after being, for the most part, lazy while on my “vacation” from traveling while on Cyprus and Malta.

After Csabi left this morning I visited the Wallace Collection again (near Oxford Street). There is so much to see in this medium-sized museum. I may have to got back again, for the third time, to fully appreciate everything they have on display.

After the museum I decided to see one of the movies that were playing, now that I’m in a country where the movies are in English. I selected Knifes Out, a who-done-it that was fairly fast paced and had several well-known actors playing key roles. By the time I left it was dark.

The theater was in Covent Garden, but unlike last night, I was able to walk the entire distance back to the hotel. I stopped off at the Sainsbury’s store and picked up a couple of sandwiches for my dinner.

Tomorrow I’ll run a few errands and watch another movie. So far I’m enjoying my time in London. More events to take in over the next few days.

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