While the mercury dips to “colder than a well digger’s butt in the Yukon,” I fuss and do laundry and make out last-minute instructions for the house/dog sitter, not quite believing that one week from this exact moment, we will be celebrating Christmas in London!
For the past four months, I’ve been reading, researching and surfing to gather more information than I can possibly use on one trip, trying to sift and juggle and prioritize. What new things do I want to see (Victoria and Albert Museum, Harrod’s, Windsor Castle), and what repeats that Ed wants to see (Imperial War Museum) and that I didn’t have time enough to see well on my first trip to London (Westminster Abbey).
And I am hoping. Hoping I am bringing the right shoes to pound the pavement in all day. Hoping I have finally figured out the Tube this time around. Hoping to find a good Indian restaurant for Christmas Day (nothing says “Christmas” like a good curry). Hoping to get some sleep on the flight over so we will have enough energy to make it through Christmas Eve and do some shopping and hop-on-hop-offing of buses to get oriented. Hoping to have a Happy Christmas in the greatest city on earth!
So, as my last weekend at home winds down, I will anxiously flit around the house, setting everything to rights, trying to double and then triple check my packing list so I don’t forget anything. We aren’t checking our bags, so I am using travel space bags. I initially had what I thought was a great idea – use those space bags to save as much room as possible! Then I learned from the great YouTube channel Love and London that they make travel space bags You just roll them up to squeeze out the air. Genius! I am also trying to pack just enough and not over-pack. Again, thanks to Love and London!
I also got a great idea from that channel to make an itinerary and to match up outfits to each day’s itinerary so that I will have just the clothes I need and not a whole bunch of stuff I won’t wear but that takes up too much room in the bag. Takes a little time to do, but if you don’t want to check a bag, again, genius! But it also takes some work, which is fine by me. I am just hoping to maybe find a clothing item or two (or maybe some shoes?) to bring back home with me. To that end, I am taking my oldest running shoes (I plan to run each morning through Hyde Park, which is maybe a 10 minute walk away) and, as I did in Ireland, if I need room in my bag for something else, my shoes will get to live in London, even if I don’t.
As for bringing stuff home, we aren’t planning to load up on tchotchkes (and, in case you are wondering, I did have to look up the spelling for that one – meshuga! – look that one up on your own). When we were in Ireland, we met a nice couple from Long Island, and Hank’s advice was simple: don’t buy something you’ll throw in a drawer and then throw out two years later. They never took pictures either because they figured they’d never look at them. I take some, but am not really the scrapbook type. I’ll post some here and on Facebook, I suppose. But I prefer to write about my trips and journeys, so the journal will definitely fit in my new giant “purse” that I bought for the trip.
Speaking of, I finally decided that if most of the women I see getting onto a plane can carry a “purse” the size of an aircraft carrier, then, by God, so will I! It ought to hold my knitting (yes, needles are allowed as are scissors less than 4″ – I’m no fool – I checked TSA), my journal, a book, guidebook, miscellaneous necessary paperwork, some snacks and an empty water bottle. I could probably fit one of the cats in there and claim it’s a service animal, but I don’t think he’d enjoy the trip so much.
So, if I can make it work, my next Sunday post will be from London! Keeping my fingers crossed for no winter storms on this end for the next two Fridays (the out and back). Stay tuned for “The Adventures of Jen and Ed in London!”