On our first weekend back together, we couldn’t just stay home, could we? Suppressed for the last couple of months, the urge to resume our explorations dominated our thoughts and ultimately led to a couple of excursions.
If you’ve been following our adventures for the last year or so, you surely consider us an active bunch, right? We are always looking to go out, travel to new destinations, absorb new experiences, or at least spend a day at a locale other than the house that we reside in. Yet, our schedule goes through cycles of heightened activity followed by relative lulls. Even the most intrepid of explorers get occasionally tired of nomadic lifestyle. And we certainly do not lay a permanent claim to being intrepid.
One of the highest peaks of our activity occurred right after our initial arrival in London (refer back to this or this), when everything was new and interesting, and we were not yet wise enough to accept or even consider that it is highly improbable to sustain our initial level of energy and to keep up the pace.
And now, right after our return to England, we are again very active. It’s uncanny, but history truly does repeat itself. And with all due respect to Karl Marx, in our case, neither tragedy nor farce are part of it.
Good weather is undoubtedly an enabler. Well, I should not call it good, since it leaves much to be desired overall. But it is not rainy, and, after having lived in England through its all so-called seasons, we wholeheartedly subscribe to stereotyping it as a place of damp climate. Therefore, an absence of rain is a blessing, even when the temperatures are of the late-autumn variety. And if the sun intermittently comes out of clouds to shine down on us, we become positively giddy about the weather these days.
So, on Saturday, we figured to take a stroll around central London, with a stop at the Tate Modern gallery. Our goal was to see a Dali exhibition, but upon arriving, that goal somehow morphed into just checking out the gallery with a couple of children’s activities thrown in. The activities were fun, even though modern art is very much not our cup of tea. Becky and I were doing some of the prescribed activity stuff in a room with a Picasso, a Miro, and an abstract Matisse, and I am as baffled by the supposed artistic mastery of those as I am with the Malevich’s Black Square.
We strolled through the Bankside area, and had a lunch at a riverside greek restaurant. In the past decade or so, the area has gotten a big boost from the opening of reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe theater, conversion of a power station to what is now the Tate Modern gallery and the construction of the pedestrian Millennium bridge that creates a direct line between the gallery and the St Paul’s Cathedral on the opposite bank. It is now a very hip and happening place, teeming with tourists and Londoners alike.
It was also the day of the Great Thames River Race, which celebrated its twentieth run this year, so we spent some time observing colorful rowboats making their way along the 22-mile course. We then crossed the Millennium bridge, hopped onto a double-decker bus (to Kimmy’s complete delight), got off at Trafalgar Square, let the kids climb all over the lions that guard Nelson’s Monument, and finally returned home with a feeling of having spent the day fruitfully.
And on Sunday, we went to the Leeds castle, which we’ve already been to before. Natasha packed a rucksack with picnic supplies, and we whiled away the time enjoying the aforementioned intermittent sun, interspersed with walks through the gardens, aviary and the maze, and some quality playground time. Absolutely delightful!
How soon are we going to slack off this active pace? With school already in session, I suppose it would be hard to go out on both days even next week. The daily routine is surely to set back in very soon and put a squeeze on our exploration urges. But we are looking forward to more adventures, including the many trips still on the to-do list. I’ll spend a bit of time outlining our travel plans in the next entry.