After an uneventful return to London on the Eurostar train, I went down to The Mitre pub and had a lovely pint of Wells Bombadier. Now that is some good ale! Then I explored a bit of the Bayswater area that I’d not been through before and discovered quite a few shops and restaurants I’ll have to investigate further on my next trip.
It’s fun to stand on the balcony landing inside Paddington Train station and watch the masses come and go. Paddington is the west London travel nexus, with Great Western trains from all over Britain arriving, trains from Heathrow disgorging airline travelers, and six Underground lines in the basement. Everyone crowds around watching the large overhead GW track assignment boards and then zooms off when their track is posted. Naturally, there’s a mini-mall of sorts there, too, with my traditional hotel (the Paddington Hilton) sitting on top of it all. Very convenient, I think. The station’s retail offerings include a pub, a Starbucks, and a Krispy Kreme donut shop, so I’m set.
Turned in early Friday night and Saturday packed up my stuff, hopped on the Heathrow Express and headed out to the airport and into the arms of the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class experience. Man, oh man, the dedicated check-in and security line are very nice. Then it was off to the Virgin Clubhouse for breakfast and some very relaxed waiting around for my flight. It ain’t cheap, but it sure is nice.
After a comfortable and posh flight home, just in time to hand out Halloween candy, I’m thinking back about how small the world has become and how wonderful it is to be able to explore it so relatively easily. I felt really good being back in my old haunts in Reading, and London and Paris seem so familiar now. My under-practiced French even worked out suprisingly well and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relaxed speaking it. Having friends in these places make the experience all the better. I look forward to my next adventure and hope you will join me then.