In case you were wondering, yes, Steve and I are still traveling. And yes, we’re really tired. And yes, it’s about to be over very soon.
About a week ago, Steve and I said goodbye to Steve’s parents in Greenville and lit out for Charleston by the sea for three days. We hung out with many friends, worked some sand into our luggage, and had some spanking good barbecue (along with the most deliciously creamy and tangy coleslaw I’ve ever had in my life) before driving back up north. We stopped in Columbia, in the middle of the state, where Steve went to college for lunch. I had the distinct pleasure of sampling the bibimbap at Blue Cactus, a Korean joint, where Steve used to walk in and ask for “the regular”. We picked up some coffee (Steve) and an iced chai latte (me) at Immaculate Consumption, and were back to Greenville by the end of the day. Saying goodbye to Stella at the airport the next day was so hard! Karen drove us to the airport and brought her along in the car, and she wanted to follow us so badly! Luckily, we’ll see her again really soon.
Continue reading Completing the circumnavacation.
At long last, the wrap-up to our circumnavacation! I am finally getting down to the business of transcribing the record of our last day in London. Steve and I were feeling overwhelmed by all the traveling we had to do, but we had it in us to do one last day of sprint-sightseeing! We caught another quick breakfast with our Airbnb host, and took a combination of bus and Tube into town.
First on our list was Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column. It was certainly a grand and impressive plaza, but very little to actually do. We noticed some cleaning personnel pushing long-handled brooms around the bottoms of the large fountains in Trafalgar Square, clearing it of green mold, which certainly brings these historical monuments back to mundane reality. Our next two stops were Horse Guards’ Parade (where, predictably enough, there are guards on horseback standing at attention) and further down the same street, 10 Downing Street, where the British Prime Minister (currently David Cameron) typically lives. Eventually, we made it to Big Ben just as it struck noon, and Steve and I hung about Big Ben (which is attached to the Houses of Parliament) for a while, taking in the sights. Just across the street from that is Westminster Abbey, looking very grey, august, and full of gorgeous stained-glass windows. We ended up having lunch in the grass outside, enjoying the scenery, and after a lengthy debate, decided to pay the ridiculous fee of eighteen pounds per person (about $70 USD altogether!). Then we got up and started walking down the line outside Westminster Abbey, and my heart just slowly sank as we figured out the line was well over an hour long. After looking at each other, we nearly wordlessly agreed that while it was definitely worth seeing, it wasn’t worth sacrificing half of what we had planned for the rest of the day. We thus walked a little bit more around the Houses of Parliament, then moved on. Continue reading London, Part II: Tea, corgis, and art.
It is a sleepy mid-afternoon in Greenville, South Carolina. The air is thick and warm in the screened back patio, like honey, and in the woods behind the house, insects are starting the eternal hum and drone that will forever sound like summer to me. The dogs were with me on the back porch, lying in the sunshine, but have now decided to retreat into the house and lounge about there instead. This is our treat, after so many hectic days of travel, to wake up and not have anything in particular to do, to eat anything we want and to get an offer to drive us to Bruegger’s or Trader Joe’s. And to stay in a wonderful house which has a backyard and a wealth of air-conditioning. (Really, people in Europe have an inexplicable grudge against A/C and fans.) Steve’s parents Rich and Karen gave us the kindest, most enthusiastic welcome home last Tuesday which was just fabulous. We even got some banners with Stella’s face on them!
And of course, the dogs. Rich and Karen’s charges (better known as the Dogs of Woodstone) are Chudleigh (their grave, older golden retriever), Taco (Steve’s brother’s 3 year-old quiet but rambunctious Chow mix), and of course, our Stella (3 year-old irrepressibly cute and sassy corgi mix). I have been speculating this whole trip about whether Stella will remember us. The answer is: yes! It just took a little while. When we first got back a week ago, Stella barked around and sniffed us and licked us and was quite enthusiastic, but simmered down quickly. Within a few days, however, she came to find us at night and stopped sleeping at the foot of Steve’s parents’ bed! She’s most certainly readapted to having us around, and it is beautiful. I’ve really missed having this dog around, though both Steve and I know she is the most spoiled thing in existence. Expect the reappearance of Stella photos on the Flickr! Continue reading South Carolina summer.