Our final full day. Once again Anna Grace was studying, breaking to lunch with friends from ICL. Tony and I were awake with the first trains of the District Line, sipping our coffee and plotting the day. The weather seemed to be holding for a day outing to Dover and so to St. Pancras we went to catch the train. We were hoping to avoid the London Marathon crowds and thankfully Mother Nature stepped in with the assist.
From the Dover station it was a taxi to the National Trust and park entrance. Our driver remarked, “You’ve picked a good day. Any more spots of sun and you wouldn’t see the cliffs for the people.” Indeed, the sky was brooding, but just clear enough to make out the French coastline, and just cloudy enough to keep the people count down for a weekend day. In any direction the light captured by my camera was different, too, making our wander rather beautiful.
The day was terribly breezy but like London itself, also restorative. When we lived in the U.S. we annually spent a summer week on Cape Cod, an experience that has been difficult to recreate in our adopted landlocked home of Austria, so any time we can expose ourselves (figuratively) to the sea we are in a happy place.
Though Dover Castle looked appealing on its hilltop and with the brooding background, we took a pass. We are not castle snobs, and we know how important the castle was to Operation Dynamo; however, if you’ve seen one medieval castle, you’ve seen them all was how we were feeling. Or perhaps it was our rumbling tummies that we were feeling.
The spectacular and glorious cliff wandering having ended (plus a quick skim through the second-hand book shop in the Visitor Center (to benefit the park). Alas, we were approaching capacity with the cases so I could not drag home another 3kg in books, so I just left a donation), a second taxi driver took us to the market square in Dover and suggested places for lunch. (There are but a couple.) We took a quiet corner table at the driver-recommended place and order two plates of Cod and Chips. Delish.
On our return to London Anna Grace messaged to ask once again if she, BOY, and friends could eat dinner in the city. Is anyone surprised at this point? Tony and I pulled together dinner from the St. Pancras M&S and rang up Tony Soprano to join us. (BOY escorted Anna Grace home before curfew. But you knew that by now.)
Clayton Theodore’s sitter messaged with a snap of him looking like he didn’t miss us at all. Foxhounds.
The final morning included the usual flurry of packing and tidying up. The flights to America at Heathrow were so obvious that if one missed them, perhaps one should reconsider traveling.
A quick flight into VIE. I thought I would be clever and hurry along to the airport grocery for dinner provisions, to avoid making a special outing once at home. At Immigration the Officer was a little salty when he took my U.S. Passport:
Officer: “Why are you here?” (In English, and with gruffness)
Me: “Ich lebe in Wien,” I responded, and without rolling my eyes.
We had decided on grilled pizza for dinner. The airport grocery had the pizza crust dough; the fresh mozzarella; and even a basil plant. But no pizza sauce. Not even a space on the shelf for sauce. Welcome Home! from the “World’s Most Livable City,” I suppose. 😕
Clayton Theodore lifted his head when we walked in, giving us the, “Oh, it’s you.” look.
Postscript to follow.