All up it's been a busy 10 days with some 'must dos' not done as we traded off a few excursions for a little chill out time at home. I'll post about some of the specific things we did over the next week or so - that'll be more posts of the 'Armchair' variety coming up for you - but in summary we shopped, played tourist, ate, drank and were generally
Day 1 started gently for my erstwhile traveller, recovering from 2 weeks amidst the hurly burly of Egypt with a sleep in, a short stroll around my local park and a coffee stop or two before heading into The Tower of London in the evening for the Ceremony of the Keys.
The Ceremony of the Keys has been occurring every night at the Tower for the last 700 years and is the ritual of securing the Tower and the Crown Jewels for the night. From arrival at the West Gate at 9.30pm to departure at approximately 10.15pm, every moment was filled with a sense of both occasion and history as the Yeoman Warder led the group down to stand at Traitor's Gate and watch the ceremony.
After explaining the ceremony itself, he left us to watch in silence as he joined his fellow warders in the ritual locking of the two outer gates, the steady march towards Traitor's Gate right through to the proclamation that the Tower had been secured and the haunting notes of the bugler's Last Post. This is definitely one of London's hidden gems and even better, it is free but you need to send off a request form a couple of months in advance. You can click here to go to the website and check it out for yourself.
Saturday we were off to High Tea at The Connaught in Mayfair with A-down-the-hill to enjoy a significantly posher version of our previous Champers and Cupcakes escapades...
|Champers gets our afternoon off to a fab start|
|There were also scones (they were scrum-diddly-umptious) and we got to choose three jams between us - my fave was the Apple & Quince!|
|Get your five a day at the junction of Oxford and Duke Streets|
We did a spot of shopping on Monday then decided on a 'rest day' before heading off to Dublin on Wednesday for 4 days. This little trip warrants a couple of dedicated posts but for now, I'll leave you with a highlights package...
|The Boyne Valley, about 45 minutes drive north of Dublin, has 40 passage tombs in all shapes, sizes and states of preservation...|
|...and we visited Newgrange Passage Tomb which predates the pyramids.|
|I poured (and drank) the perfect pint at The Guinness Storehouse (and have a certificate to prove it)...|
|...while Irish history came to life for me at Kilmainham Jail.|
|I was delighted to find a 'host of golden daffodils' in Merrion Square...|
|...whilst visiting the Famine memorial by the Liffey River was quite moving.|
As I walked away from the Departure Gate, I felt the familiar tearing of my heart between the love of family on the other side of the world and the connection of my soul with London. And I wondered at what it was in me that led me here so very far away, and where I might end up next.