Where had you planned to be this summer or this fall? What travel plans went kaput when it became a little more worrisome to fly or travel, even by car? And of course, for many of us, the places we planned to go wouldn't let us in.
This summer Rick was going to bike through Ontario. And my Canadian friend would have come here if I didn't go there. Nope. Border closed.
And right about now, I would either be packing for or already in England. I would be seeing things and people I've seen before (like the wonderful Jenny Woolf: English Travel Writer) and new things, too. After a visit with Jenny, I'd check into the Parkwood Hotel. Located just a couple of blocks from the Marble Arch tube and across from Hyde Park, the location couldn't be better!
I really never got the itinerary done because Covid hit early enough that it "beat me" to the punch. But I knew that I would have to return to Westminster Abbey for Evensong.
I might have to watch the Changing of the Guard again, even though I've seen it three times. And I was hoping I'd be able to tour Buckingham Palace during the brief months they are open. If not, then the Royal Mews. Both would be a first.
I would sit in Green Park, taking a break as I walked to Piccadilly. Hopefully it would be ablaze with color.
I'd have to revisit Hatchard's book store in Piccadilly.
And walk down Jermyn street again. I couldn't afford to buy anything here but it's a lovely street!
And speaking of shopping, I'd return to Harrods, if for no other reason than to get better photos of the remarkable food hall. (And while I was in the neighborhood, hit another wing of the Victoria and Albert Museum.)
Of course, if it was a Saturday, I'd be at Portobello Road Market. I'm hoping that little cat pitcher in the center of this photo is still there!
I'd definitely hit a show in the West End. Maybe two or three or more!
And I'd do a little more at the National Gallery. I've seen the Leonardo cartoon of the Madonna and Saint Anne more than once. I'd see it again -- but there are lots of things I've missed! And I'd hit the Tate Britain for the Turners and who knows what else. Jenny would give me wonderful off-the-beaten-path ideas. In fact, what I'd really love would be to see her daughter do one of her remarkable storytelling adventures. Check out London Dreamtime for more on those!
Of course, the whole idea of this trip was to both return to favorites and see new things. I'd like to go back to Oxford -- but see Cambridge, too.
And since Queen Mary's Dollhouse at Windsor Castle was closed last time, I'd give Windsor another try.
If I could rent the wonderful Morgan's Forge near Bath again, I would revisit this area. I'd just be happy staying at the cottage.
I mean, if you were waking up to a view like this, wouldn't you want to return?
But I wouldn't mind visiting Bath Cathedral.
I'd take another Mad Max Cotswold tour. Or maybe even try to take a bus there myself and stay a day or two!
And I'd like to see the Lake District, Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm, and maybe even the Cornwall of Doc Martin.
When I visited in 2018 with Rick, I was walking around England on ruptured tendons in my foot. It was a wonderful trip but I couldn't nearly do all I wanted. This was going to the be the make-up tour, with or without him.
Well, we've all missed things that have meant a lot to us. Travel, to be sure. Weddings. Christenings. Seeing grandchildren. We've made final farewells to those we love and for whom we can't gather with friends or family to mourn. And for many of us, the world has turned to chaos, either with a virus we can't seem to get on top of or through tragic wildfires and violent hurricanes -- all of which leave death, destruction and long term challenges in their wake.
Missing out on a pretty view, great museums, lovely British accents, and an environment where history surrounds you like a blanket of old friends -- kings and queens, great writers, favorite fictional heroes -- all this seems pretty lame. Pretty trivial by comparison to what so many are experiencing now.
It will be a long haul.