We’re only four days on the road and my lovely wife is already feeling under the weather (with no help from the British clime: cold and wet). It’s true, she’s been able to write rather entertaining prose with only half her energy intact. Watch out all you content creators when she has full steam! The fault of her exhaustion though lay squarely on our shoulders. We’ve done the very thing we said we wanted to get away from on this short respite from everyday life: hustling and bustling.
Living in a busy city ourselves we’ve become accustomed to living efficiently, as I like to call it. Work 10 hrs, workout, read, go to dinner with friends then hang out at a local bar all with the help of public transit that is perfectly timed? No problem.. On a travelers schedule? Big problem, unless you add a couple extra shakes of energy and a touch of stress. Guilty as charged methinks. With this in mind, as we approached day 4 in London we decided to trade in a tour of the Tower of London (yes, it really hurt) and a workout for afternoon tea at the Ritz and a nap (or, for this traveler, an afternoon catching up on the FT and Grexit – if you don’t know what that means, we need to hang out more).
With our new plan underway, we still couldn’t help but run a couple minutes late after accommodating for the dress code. Granted, every man in London dons a suit daily so I should have known better but we also needed to make a quick stop at a pharmacy. Left out of my wife’s small carry-on sized bag when we departed was a pair of tights and it’s fair to say no one in London has seen legs in the flesh since the Spice girls. I know Alyssa has nice legs and all but the stares were even worse than in Chicago on the first warm day (half of you know what I’m talking about). Stuffy clothes in order, we were off.
The Ritz is about what you would expect: classy, beautiful, probably old (all of the things that give the English that air of superiority which I now truly understand – it’s all very impressive indeed). The afternoon tea takes place in The Palm Court which is a medium-sized room with perfect decor comprising 30 or so tables hosting patrons of all types. My personal favorite was the gentlemen who walked in just after us who, after being told where the coat room was, exclaimed “What a smashing good idea!!” in the most perfect accent. I literally laughed out loud at his excitement. I think my beard saved me from a direct confrontation.
Once we were seated we perused the tea menu where I chose the Royal Ritz and my wife decided on the pomegranate and orange (she always picks better than I; it’s truly annoying). We were then promptly served an assortment of finger sized sandwiches. Cucumber, chicken salad, salmon, egg salad, cheese and apple chutney, and ham and horseradish mustard; all which were delicious. The scones to follow were equally as impressive but only after slathering on plenty of butter and jam (duh).
However, as good as the food and people watching was, the live music was better. A gentleman played a very wide assortment of jams from the piano including Ave Maria, the Beatles’ Yesterday, that wind beneath your wings song, and Istanbul not Constantinople. Seriously. He even showed some attendees favor by playing them Happy Birthday after which everyone did the most polite little clap and I tried my hardest not to belt out, “And many more!!” as I’m known to do (hat tip to my Pops).
With tea in the books and the majority of everyone’s to-dos accomplished, tomorrow we’re off to Scotland where I hope we can grow accustomed to our slower, healthier pace.