So it's time for Channel Six to go all travel blog again, because I just got back from a 17-day trip to England, Greece, and France. I've got 3,000 photo and video files I'm currently sorting through, so for now, just a bit on my itinerary, and five moments that really stood out.
A group of friends and I had a house in Skiathos, Greece, which is accessible by ferry and flights from Athens, but also a number of flights from England, as it's a popular British holiday destination. I opted for one of those flights, because it doesn't take much to get me to tack on some extra trip time in England. I decided to also include France in the itinerary, since I hadn't been there yet.
So I flew in to London Heathrow, had a little time in London, and then stayed overnight at Gatwick airport. In the morning, I flew to Skiathos for a week there, and then back to Gatwick. That's where things got a little nomadic — from Gatwick, I took a train to Portsmouth, where I stayed overnight and spent a morning. Then I took a train to Bath and spent a night there, and then I took a cab to Castle Combe, in the Cotswolds, for a night there. Another cab and another train, and I was back in London for a few hours before heading on the Eurostar to Paris for three nights. After Paris, it was the Eurostar back to London for two more nights, and then home.
In the course of my trip, I had some delightful spa experiences and visited countless beaches, two palaces, five churches, and a great many museums, including the Louvre. But here are five moments that really stood out, in chronological order:
1. Climbing the stairs at our house in Greece for the first time.
The view was absolutely unbelievable. Our house-finder extraordinare Meghan really outdid herself this time with this upside down house where the bedrooms were below, and the living area was above, so everyone had a share of this view. Imagine having your morning tea/coffee here every day. Yeah.
View from the house.
2. The sailboats of Portsmouth
Leave it to Portsmouth to make this list, even though I was there for less than 14 hours. I went for a walk in the morning, and as I climbed the stairs to the sea wall on a beautiful day, a stream of sailboats were headed out to sea. There was something magical about that moment — the sun, the wind, the notion that both they and I had adventure ahead of us. I'll admit, I had chills.
Video: Sailboats heading out.
3. Walking the Paris catacombs
After an hour and a half wait in line with tons of people, I descended a spiral staircase down into the catacombs and found myself alone. The people behind me must have lingered in the museum, because I was way below ground and could hear no humans. A real hairs on the back of the neck experience.
Video: Alone in the catacombs.
4. The roses of Hampton Court Palace
I thought the roses in Greece were beautiful, until I saw the roses in England. The month of May must be peak time for them, because there seemed to be perfect roses everywhere I looked. But nowhere more than in the Hampton Court Palace Rose Garden, which had so many it was overwhelming, and you can smell them in the air as you walk on the spongy grass, awed by one variety after another. I feel like every photo I took there was inadequate, because unless you can really be there, and see all of these roses in full detail, and smell that amazing scent, you're not getting the full experience.
A truly Tudor rose.
5. Shakespeare at the Globe
This is my fourth trip to England, and although the flights are cheaper in colder months, I'm not sure I'll be able to go back outside of the Globe's theater season now. I saw "Much Ado About Nothing," and although I've seen Shakespeare performed before, seeing it at the Globe as it was meant to be performed gives you a whole new dimension, as the audience becomes a character. If I had to pick one moment out of the play, it was when Benedick first tells Beatrice he loves her: she froze in her tracks, and simultaneously the audience gave a loud "ooooooooooooooh."