I love catching trains, especially in first class. I asked the attendant what was so special about it, given the difference in price, and he told me it was roomier and had complimentary food.
I suppose one doesn’t get to meet many people. At least in second class you might get to talk to someone. But after lugging a heavy bag – I swear it’s 30kgs – I wasn’t in the mood to be cramped. So here I am, writing down notes and preparing blogs on a high speed train. Next time I am travelling really light: one half full bag only!
But this this not the first class of old with china cups. Unfortunately my Earl Grey tea is neither complimentary nor in china, but no matter. I will get to see the English country side under somewhat grey skies.
I went to the British Library this morning and visited with the preservation people there. With time running along I poked my head into some reading rooms because I felt that if I returned home without doing so my name would be mud.
My main focus for this trip has been the course. It was all consuming and didn’t give much time for meandering around the city. You’d think that I would have had time on week ends, but given jet lag and the flu, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to sleep at the correct time.
I did however, take many trips with the underground and on buses. My hotel was in a fortunate position: within walking distance of nearly everywhere I needed to be. I found being on the Picadilly line really convenient.
London is clean despite very little evidence of public rubbish bins. Surprisingly, their rubbish collection system resembles that of BsAs: plonk your bags of rubbish on the curb!
I loved the smells of the gardens. In the big public squares, scores of people were sitting on the green grass, in small or large groups, enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air.
I wish I could stay longer; see things in a calmer less frenzied manner. So I’ve decided to see what I can see and not fret about it. I don’t care about shopping or plays; although truth be told I’m sad to not have see the Globe Theatre.
The view from the train is pretty much what I expected: wildflowers , broom, green lushness everywhere. Brown stone houses with high pitched roofs in the distance, horses grazing, fields. I feel like I’m home.
Getting back to my time in London. I took photos of buildings. Rows of similar architecture; garden railings, cobblestones. I thought I was in a movie. I saw may interesting signs. For example:
Was this a hospital that taught doctors specific medicine for women, or taught medicine to women? This sign made me laugh.
Cyclists around town; It made me happy to see so many people cycling without a helmet, carefree in the traffic.
I bought a local sim card for the phone, but as with the one at home I hardly used it. I forgot I didn’t have travel buddies with whom to keep in contact.
I’ve been taking pictures of what I call architectural oddities:
or unusual shops:
Anyway, now I’m in Oxford.
So I lug my heavy baggage to the Eurobar Cafe on George St. Lucky for me it’s not raining. Of course my room is o the second and a half floor, up tiny steps. I am both cursing and laughing as I struggle with my luggage. I wish it had feet like The Luggage.
The hotel is small, and its bar downstair is “chill” as my new found little friend Richie would say. He decides to be my guide and takes me for a brief evening walk around the town.
People come out after about seven and the streets are crowded once more. I bump into Carol whom I met last week at Senate House. She is a professor from El Paso, studying maps. She is here for another conference. I keep walking and realise there is a tango show on tonight and tomorrow night. I will see if I can’t go before practica. Trying to find music, I end up reading my book at the Oxford retreat, listening to Jack Johnson (?) or someone who sounds a lot like him. I am now off to find the Ashmolean.