Winter arrived this year with teeth bared. My old farmhouse has no insulation and I was glad when it was time to leave for my India adventure. My friend Huggie is with me on this trip and we have spent the last few days in London, en route. The weather has been damp and chilly but it’s a far sight more comfortable than the bitter cold we left behind. Since arriving, we’ve walked countless miles (as my problematic ankles and knee can attest), seen many of the classic London sights, and found great enjoyment in some unexpected places.
Wandering through The National Gallery was an accidental but marvellous pleasure. I am by no means an art aficionado but I could happily have spent far more time there. I was spellbound by so many magnificent works – 25,000 pieces housed there to be exact and with a combined monetary value of £25,000,000,000. That is $40,780,462,592.66. How do you even pronounce that many dollars?
We stopped at a casino where (to my utter despair) Huggie was prepared to gamble away £5.00. With no slot machines available we sat at a ‘£10 minimum’ black jack table. Neither of us had ever sat at a real black jack table before but the dealer was friendly and explained the game. In two seconds flat Huggie had played a game and doubled her money. Whaaat! She passed me her newly won chip and we both played the next game – and won. From then on I was the keeper of the chips. Within minutes, she had played a couple more games and was up £40.00. That’s $65.00! I was flabbergasted! I kept muttering with shocked and happy awe “I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it”. One would think we had just won the jackpot at a high stakes table. I’m clearly not a gambler but it was a lot of fun. When we left she treated me to a scrumptious authentic fish and chips dinner near Covent Garden with part of her winnings.
We visited the Tower of London, (originally built by William the Conqueror (who just happens to be my 24 great grandfather), the Tower Bridge (it has a glass floor portion on the top walkway over the Thames) , the London Bridge Experience (the haunted tombs beneath the bridge. An entertaining/educational/terrifying maze designed to stop ones heart and damn near succeeded in my case) and a multitude of other London sights. Today, our last day, we saw Buckingham Palace and walked around the Royal Parks where I was happy to breath in some green space.
London has been a blast but I am ready to move on and rest my sore bits in the sunshine. Next stop – India.