This morning I kissed Ryan goodbye in a warm, cozy London hotel room. I stepped out into the rain where the doorman hailed a cab for me at 5:15am.
There is a lot to say about our weekend trip to London but I’ll start with how it ended because that says more than how it began.
London is unlike any other city in the rain and cabs in London are unlike any other cabs in the world. I’m serious. The image below is a London cab. It was made to the exact requirements and specifications for a London cab and it is driven by a person who legally must know the quickest routed to everything and anything in the city. The drivers must pass an intense test called “The Knowledge.” Preparation for The Knowledge can take 2-4 years! We may have watched a documentary on London cabs (I know, I know… we like to geek out together).
As I watched the streets shine and glisten when the light hit just the right angle, I thought about our weekend. This weekend was meant to celebrate our second wedding anniversary and turned out to be our accidental or coincidental reenactment of our engagement weekend in New York three years ago, More on that later.
I watched the spires of parliament go by through rain drops on the window and just as we passed the London Eye, I had a feeling. I asked the driver if he accepted credit cards. He did not. While there was a machine in the car, he didn’t use it. But, never mind that. We’ll just stop off at a cash machine. My card didn’t work in the first machine. I would find that four of the five cash machines we tried (“we” because we seemed to be in it together at this point), were Visa only. The cabbie explained how many of the cash machines in the city were converted for the Olympics. Five stops later, success! I hopped back in this cab that I love so much (I know it’s weird, it’s a cab but I love it) and off we go to the London City airport.
Once inside, I quickly check in without incident and after everything, to include what might be lurking between the pages of my passport, is thoroughly checked, I am able to enter the terminal where I can finally get some coffee. I find the perfect spot to lose myself in the Sunday Times Travel magazine and think about boutiques and Bellinis in Milan.
We board the commuter jet in the pouring rain and I spend the 70 minute flight reading about how to travel smartly. I read about when to go to Thailand, what not to order at restaurants in Venice, where to go in the Mediterranean this year.
When we deplane in Germany, it’s like a different world. It’s sunny and warm and suddenly my knee-high boots are much to much.
I know this airport well so I made it to immigration in record time. Ryan would have been proud. However, when I arrived at the desk. There was a problem. This one, my fault…. sort of. Last year the document that allows me to live and work in Germany was issued with an incorrect expiration date. I had the document reissued but I must have accidentally switched them sometime in the last month. As several immigration officers discuss my fate, I offer them another form of ID, which should clear up the issue of the incorrect date since it is clearly incorrect. Finally, it does. The surly, German immigration agent allows me to enter.
Unperturbed by the cab issue and the almost-not-getting-into-my-country-of-residence issue, I grab a salad at the only healthy establishment I’ve found in the Frankfurt airport and hold my breath through the gray plume of cigarette smoke at the exit to get to the shuttle. I find my car easily and find the parking ticket (not so easily).
I go to work next, a little worried about what awaits after the morning I’ve had but I went and it wasn’t awful (although my email inbox was awful).
My next challenge was getting Fisher from the katzen pension (kitty hotel) safely. Safely for both of us. Lucky for both of us, Fisher was fast asleep so swooped him up and into the carrier before he had time wriggle away. We both came away unscratched and unscathed.
My workouts must be paying off because I also managed to carry the beast from the parking garage to the apartment without dropping him.
He is safely at home with me where he belongs. He was immediately content. I think because I was also content… more than content. I’m still singing the songs from the Jersey Boys show we saw at the Prince Edward Theater in the West End Saturday night.
This day could have gone differently but my happy weekend bubbled over to a sunny, perfect, happy day. There must be something about London.