« anyone want to buy a silver 2004 prius? | Main | memory »

london calling

After more than three years with only the occasional long weekend holiday, last week I took Thursday and Friday off which, combined with the Monday federal holiday for Columbus Day, gave me a full five days away from the office, my longest break since I began this job the summer of 2002.

I went nowhere, but spent my days reading and playing on the computer (oh, and on Saturday we baked a really delicious carrot cake, with crushed pineapple, raisins, coconut and hazelnuts in the mix). It was marvelous.

And Jeff and I finally made plans for our first long vacation together (we’ve been together to New York many times, and to Seattle and the Bay Area once each, but for no more than four days, including the weekend, at the most): we’ve taken advantage of a great American Airline Vacations/Thistle Hotels deal to book six nights in London this coming February. Yes, ok, so Thistle’s hotels aren’t the greatest (but then London’s notorious for its poor hotels generally), and February’s perhaps not the best time to visit the U.K. But the six nights and roundtrip airfare from Washington National to Heathrow (by way of JFK) set us back just over $700 each, inclusive of taxes and fees, and including some extras: afternoon tea at one of the hotels, a 30-minute Thames cruise, a ride on the London Eye, two-for-one lunch and dinner at the hotel, free admission to one of the local castles, and a few other perks. It was a deal we felt we couldn’t pass up, as we’d been wanting to plan a trip to Europe or the U.K. either this winter or next spring, and each has renewed his passport this year (Jeff’s had his a couple of months, and mine should arrive any day now).

I’ve been to London only once before, for three days, and Jeff not at all, so we’re both very excited about having a full week there. And I’m especially eager to finally be able to take an entire week off from work.

Any sights off the beaten path we should see? Any day trips from London we should consider? Any special tips from your own travel in the U.K.? (For example, we’re already planning to buy our local travel passes, for tube and bus, ahead of time, having looked into that on Saturday.)

Comments

I suggest taking in the food hall at Fortnum & Mason, the Queen’s grocery store. Where else can you see a jar of peanut butter and jelly right next to a jar with a huge wasp floating in honey?
Buy a 1/4 pound of sugared violets — literally, violet petals that have been crystallized in sugar. They taste just as you imagine they’d taste.

credits

mint 190 banner image adapted from Lovely vintage Mercedes photo by June Shieh (misocrazy), cc Attribution 2.0