One of my good friends, Tanyisha, got married in June of 2012 (Wow! Crazy to think when you put it in context…). I was asked to be a bridesmaid and was so excited to get the chance to go to England for the first time, to see one of my dear friends get married on top of it! HOWEVER, that didn’t work out, so when I informed her that I would have to back out, I promised her that I’d come and visit over the summer.
I booked my ticket for July 26th to August 8th, and anxiously counted down the days at work till I was set to depart for the land that I had only read about over the course of the years. Even though two weeks seemed like a long time when I initially booked my flight, upon arriving and then flying back to Japan, two weeks was like nothing.
In the two weeks I was over there, I experienced fantastic summer weather, good company, amazing home cooked meals, and developed an intense fondness for Tanyisha and Thomas’ couch (which I named Couchie). The first few days I spent with not only Tanyisha and Thomas, but our friends Connor, Nick, and Diana (also living in Japan).
We had a fun three days together wandering around both Southend-on-sea and London, eating pub fare and fish and chips, going to see The World’s End, dealing with Houdini house cats…Highlights of our London adventure on Sunday, minus Tanyisha who was dealing with finding an escaped cat, were Forbidden Planet, a geek’s paradise, and Five Guys both in Covent Garden; and the London Dungeon. The dungeon was quite touristy, but in a great way. The actors were entertaining, and the sets were awesome. It was a good mix of scary, interesting, and fun. I enjoyed it a lot.
After Nick, Diana and Connor left to go back to Warminster and Frome. the flat found immensely quiet. I spent most of my days going into London and exploring. Borough Market was probably the highlight of places I managed to stumble across. I had delicious Indian street food, but before I decided upon that I was hard pressed to decide due to all the food stalls that smelled so amazing.
I also was able to explore a bit of Southend-on-sea, highlights being Hadleigh Castle ruins and Priory Park. The park, in addition to Prittlewell Priory on the acreage, was gorgeous, with gardens and ponds.
I managed to meet up with Russ a couple of times during my visit, the first time was a rare during my visit (but quite common by London standards) rainy day. Tanyisha, Russ and I grabbed a late breakfast around Liverpool station, and then we strolled about in the rain for a while just looking at all the famous touristy sites. It was nice to catch up, since it’d been a little under a year since last we’d met up. It was a nice tour of the city.
We also met up during the day before I headed out to Frome with Tanyisha and Thomas. We went to Camden Market, and then walked along the canal for a while. I also got the opportunity to ride a Boris bike (Barclays Cycle Hire) for the first time, and they’re pretty slow, heavy things. We grabbed some coffee and then hung out in Green Park until it was time to head off to Frome.
We were intending on meeting Diana and Nick, possibly Connor, during our trip to Frome but that didn’t work out. It turned out okay, because I got to spend time with Tanyisha’s in-laws, Thomas’s parents, and meet his sister. Thomas’s family are amazing, Tanyisha really married into a fantastic family. They were so hospitable and kind. The first day of our few days in Frome, we went to Bath. What a gorgeous town, we went around the abbey together, did a bit of window shopping, and had lunch at a great buffet, and then I went to the baths and they went off and meandered around town. The baths were so grand, it would have been amazing to see back in the day. And Bath was a really nice area, the architecture around the city was gorgeous.
The next day, Thomas showed me around Frome, a small town, though not as small as I expected, it was quite endearing. We had fantastic fish and chips, and then I went for a walk with the dogs and Thomas’s mum. Thomas’s parents had a barbecue that night, which was delicious.
And then, the next thing I knew it was time to go back to London, where we all had one last meal together, before the next day Tanyisha and I went to the pub for a meal, and then went to Heathrow.
It was a life changing trip, but not without a few takeaways: London is a very expensive city, on average – going to see the sites cost between 12 pounds to 20 pounds; there’s such a thing as being too flexible, I should’ve really had an idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see; and next time I go, I need to actually try some English food. I DID have cream tea, and it was divine! I cannot wait to return, what a lovely country, and there’s so much more to see, especially more of the UK, which I unfortunately didn’t have the chance or time to get to. Next time!