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Published: April 17th 2016
Sarah and Suz On The Ice
Skating's easier when you have a friend to hold you up
It was mid December when I left Jordan for the UK, landing at Gatwick in London just after midnight. It had been a quick hop across the Mediterranean Sea as well as the European Continent and after a short, action-packed 8-day visit with friends scattered about southern England I headed back to my folks' in California for the Christmas holidays and then some.
I stayed with my friends Sarah and Ken for a couple of days in West London; they were kind enough to house me and show me around the touristy hotspots in and around the capital. We even found the time to go ice skating, admire the holiday lights in the evenings and ducked into numerous coffee shops to get out of the cold, warming up over excellent cups o' Joe. I couldn't have asked for better "guides."
Soon it was time to visit a good friend of mine, Tim, in Poole, in the southern part of the country. We wandered about the Bournemouth beaches, the long pier and the botanical gardens of this seaside resort town, and in the evenings he introduced me to a few neighborhood pubs (this is England after
all, and when here it is best do as the locals...). He took me to the nearby countryside where we drove up and down the rolling hills, and through endless picturesque villages, complete with thatch roofed stone buildings, timeworn cemeteries and dwellings from past centuries. Along the way, we played spot the castles and even found ourselves exploring one or two on foot. We shared in pub grub.
From the south coast of England, I headed back up to London to see another friend, who, at the time, lived near and was working at the Olympic Stadium, fine-tuning details before the 2012 Summer Olympics. Somkiat is originally from Thailand and married to Natalie, a special friend of mine. He treated me to a wonderful neighborhood Thai restaurant where he enhanced my knowledge of the incredible flavors of his country. Unfortunately I only had one night at his place before heading off again. Such is the life of a budget jet-setter. Ha!
My last stop on this whirlwind country tour was to a region southeast of London, where I met up with a traveling friend who showed me around his Uni campus and the gorgeous
Tonbridge countryside. This was another special area of the country, so beautiful, so quaint and so worth another trip back. Two days there didn't give it justice. Many thanks again, Sean, for showing me around.
I left Heathrow in the early afternoon of the 16th of December, my 9th day on British soil, flying via Iceland back to San Francisco. I spent Christmas, New Years and, as it turned out, until mid April with my family in California. I rested, relaxed, edited my traveling photos, caught up with a few friends and busied myself with plenty of chores at my folks' house.
Onwards...and southwards...to Mexico.
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