I have been rather withdrawn, so to speak, the past couple of days. I have wanted to write a little diddy on my latest travels with my dearest beau, however the energy and inspiration has escaped me. Overall, I don’t think there’s a way for me to relay it all as it was absolutely wonderful even through the arguments, the moments of tension, the minutes of settling into complete time with one another. Therefore I shall write only briefly with a few pictures to add to the ocular amusement to this picture-book story of the past two weeks.
I separated myself from digital communication for the time that my lad was visiting me, and it was lovely. I refrained from updating my blog, from posting up-to-date status posts on facebook, or checking my mobile for texts or incoming calls. And so, I am way behind on updates on my little diddy, aka this blog 🙂 So here goes nothing…
First Days: June 26th – 27th
Location: London, United Kingdom
I slept the night in Heathrow Airport the night of the 25th since from Durham to London there were no trains that would arrive in time for me to greet the dear boy at the arrivals gate. After a rather noisy night of construction and a group communicating at high volumes behind me, I dolled myself up in the ladies room and awaited his emerging from the gates. After standing for nearly an hour after the boards had updated his arrival, his beardy-face emerged, and I attacked 🙂 And when I say ‘attacked’ I mean it in the loveliest of terms. I dropped my bags and ran up for a hug. After many hellos, our first stop was the barber shop where he was scheduled to shave that furry thing off his face 🙂 Clean shaven complete, it was off to our hotel and then the city. In the evening we checked out the Phantom of the Opera (one of my all time favourites), and the following day we explored the sites a bit more, heading to Tower Bridge and further south to Bermondsey to see the exhibits at the White Cube Galleries.
The evening of the 27th we were off to Durham where all we were to do was sleep, drink coffee, and relax.
White Cube, Damien Hirst ‘Two Weeks, One Summer’
Next of days: June 27th – 30th
Location: Durham, United Kingdom
Our time in Durham was so relaxing for the most part. Our first morning, we had a much needed sleep in after not being able to sleep the night before until the early hours. Eventually, we woke up and headed into the town for some food and coffee – both essential things for our single and co-existence. After some cakes and sandwiches and many shots of espresso, we wondered further around, heading up to my college, the Castle, and the Cathedral. Later in the afternoon we were scheduled to visit my workplace at Mary’s College and the minute we decided to leave, we were hit with a massive downpour which flooded the streets. Needless to say we were drenched by the time we reached work, and he was drenched to above the knees after pushing a man’s car through the high waters on the streets. Saying good-bye to my old work mates was bitter sweet – I will say I will cherish them more than most people I had courses with, and I’m very glad to have met them all. That evening we watched the Italy-Germany match at a local pub next to my flat, and relaxed for the duration of the night. Durham was lovely – having him here even for a couple of days made me miss him that much more after he left, because it felt so lovely having in my home for once. I wished he could be here always.
Running through the flooded streets
Walk along the river
Days to follow: June 30th – July 3rd
Location: London, United Kingdom… and ???
In the early morning hours of the 30th, we jumped on our train and headed back to London. On the train, I let something out of the bag that I had been hiding from my beau for months. I had told him the plan was to head to London and then take the Eurostar to Paris that evening. So, I kind of lied. Big time. On the train I let him partially into the secret: we were neither going to Paris just yet, nor were we taking a train there. We were to fly to France the following morning, but to where, I was yet to reveal. So, upon our arrival to London, we checked our bags into storage so as to not have to lug them around with us throughout the day. Our plan of action: art. First we headed to Camden Town for some food, where we briefly perused the markets and later took a pit stop at some food stalls. After this, we headed south to the Tate Modern to check out Damien Hirst’s retrospective which was stellar. Although his prized piece was no longer up for viewing, the remainder of the collection was gorgeous – my favourites were the butterfly paintings. Stunning. Post art perusing, we munched on some bread I had made the night before with some lamb sausages we had cooked up as well for the ride. Then we wandered to the Thames where we laid under the sun for a short nap since we were both exhausted.
Pat taking photos of me whilst I attempted to cleanly eat a peach whilst not being able to breathe through my stuffed up nose
Arrival to King’s Cross
Camden for lunch
Time for a siesta by the Thames
Panoramic of the Thames
Later that night, we picked up our luggage again and headed to Gatwick. Now, I had picked up a cold during our walk through the flooded streets of Durham, and so I was not in the best of places. My head was stuffed, my body aching, and I felt a little less than attractive unless you like the puffy face, bloodshot eyes, red-Rudolph nose look. So to cheer myself up, I decided half way through the night to show the dear boy photos of where we were going.
We were to fly to Marseille, France in the early hours and then take a short train to Cassis, a small port-town on the Mediterranean. I think it took him a few minutes to believe me after I showed him photos of the beach we were to visit, les Calanques d’En Vau during our stay. So not to dive into details, his reaction was priceless and it definitely lifted my moods as I had been so excited for months 🙂
After our arrival in Marseille, we trained it to Cassis, France, and lo and behold, it was stunning. We walked along lavender gardens, olive tree pastures, and rows of grapevines as we made our way to our hotel, Hôtel le Cassiden. The location was beautiful, romantic, and absolutely perfect. The day as it progressed was a culmination of exhaustion, and with those few moments of worry as I mentioned at the start of the post, it held it’s times of tension and anxiety. I think it’s always hard when you pair someone who is used to throwing herself into foreign situations with someone who is trying it out on literally foreign territory, but after some sleep, we triumphed. The second day was bliss. We took our rented boat out to the beach, and relaxed under the perfect sun – not too hot sitting at 27 degrees Celcius, and the water was a cool chill that refreshed you throughout the hours. The evening, we ate dinner port-side, and later smoked a cuban cigar on the beach. Lovely.
Walking from Cassis train station to our hotel
Our window view onto the market streets
Driving our boat to les Calanques d’En Vau
Assessing our swim from boat to shore… with our bag..!
Calanques d’En Vau
Seafood dinner on the port. Gorgeous.
After dinner walk. 🙂
Onto the next one: July 3rd – 4th
Location: Paris, France
After a stressful morning of getting to our train on time, we jetted off on the train from Marseille to Paris, arriving mid-day. After a well-needed nap in our cozy hotel room at Hotel le Petit Trianon in the St. Germain-de-Près district, we walked out for dinner and then the Eiffel Tower. Again, we had had a stressful evening – exhaustion was getting to the both of us I think. But after a break-point in our discussion, we laid back and smiled under the glittering Eiffel Tower.
Gorgeous Duck Confit.
The following day, we merely walked around the city. We were a little tired of paying city prices, and so gathered some fresh food and made our own meals throughout the day. We walked to the Louvre, along la Seine, through the gardens, and around the ancient streets. Neither of us were up for museum gazing, or tourist attractions, I think we just wanted to wander the city at our own pace and just chill together. To be honest, Paris was lovely – I’ve been told to go there by, well, everyone. However, I would have much preferred to stay in Cassis. We had a few incidents that definitely put us off fully enjoying our time there, but I would definitely return, however I’m not in any rush. I’ve always tried to explain to people why I’ve never gone, and now that I have, I stand even truer to it. If I have the chance to go, I’m typically in London. So why would I leave one city for another? If I leave a city, I prefer going to a completely different scene, like the countryside or the mountains, or the sea. But overall, I am so glad I got to experience Paris first with the chap. But now, it was back to London.
Oh my goodness, yes.
Book stalls along la Seine.
Giggles in the gardens.
Last stop: July 4th – 6th
Location: London, United Kingdom
So, after a major fault on my part (something of which I will not go into), we eventually made our way to London once again on the Eurostar train. Arriving in the late evening, we were both starving and so headed out quickly for food. The following day we wandered to the British Museum to gaze at the brilliant ceramics collection that they hold there. After much inspiration was found, we walked further to Kensington Gardens to find the Ai Wei Wei installation and Yoko Ono’s retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery. It was so lovely to just walk around the gardens with an ice cream cone under the sun. Eventually we made our way to the Thames where I showed him Buckingham Palace along route, and then Parliament Square and Westminster. We sat on the Thames, ate our fresh food purchased from a farmers market in Tavistock Square, and drank our Elderflower cordial that I have also purchased at the market. Yum. Hopped on the tube, hopped off, and then later had dinner in Covent Garden at Herman zee German, a little hole-in-the-wall joint with great German eats. And then final stop was the Maple Leaf, a Canadian bar in London 🙂 As we made our way back to our hotel in Euston, we stopped off at Euston Tap, a bar he had read about, where he purchased some beer to drink later on through the night. Now, it was off to pack as he was set to fly the next morning.
Royal Mile Whiskies, London
Ai Wei Wei’s installation outside the Serpentine Galleries
Me outside the Maple Leaf pub.
So on July 6th, I took the Picadilly Line from London King’s Cross with him to Heathrow where we were say another one of our airport good-byes in the underground terminal. I was set to catch my train back at King’s Cross at 10:30AM to head back into Durham. I did not want this trip to end, and was so sad to be Paddy-less in England now. I know it’s pathetic, but it was nice having my best friend with me for at least 12 days in the country I’ve lived without him since September. He made every location a little brighter, and it was all rather dulled slightly once he left.
And that’s that. The two weeks I had been waiting for for so long, and to be honest, the days didn’t fly by, but instead were enjoyed through every second of it. Not all the moments were easy, and frustration was definitely felt, but I will never say that relationships that are meant to last are never without their worries. Long distance makes that even more difficult – we are not a couple that never argues, as both of us have too much that has happened in our pasts to make the present silky smooth. I do think we’re working tremendously hard to understand each other better, and come to a point where we’re not worried about possible hurt, possible disappointment, possible heartbreak.
Anyways, speak again soon – so much is speeding up right now, that I will write again shortly to update on that. But for now, I am hungry 🙂
Peace & love,
Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo
p.s – No, I’m not self-obsessed, but I don’t typically post photos with others in them if they’d prefer me not to, and so alas, no photos of the dude on my blog. He’s lovely looking though, I promise 😉