Four countries with one carry-on and a computer bag, that is what I packed for our whirlwind European tour.
Our strategy was to keep moving so nobody would notice that we were wearing the same things day after day. No divas allowed on our trip.
Our eight-hour flight was smooth as could be but neither of us could sleep so when we arrived in London, we were spacey and slightly cranky. With our few bags in hand, we sailed though customs so we were in the city in no time.
Once checked into our hotel just across from Hyde Park…
…we were so jet-lagged that we needed to keep moving even though we were tempted to curl up under the airy duvet and sleep. We enjoyed an afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam – such a divine little combo the English came up with.
Followed up by a walk across the park to Knightsbridge, my old stomping grounds.
I showed Ric my old home a and high school…
Passed this in the old hood…
Seriously, a gold Ferrari? Things have changed for sure since I lived here and I had to keep checking myself for the odd emotions that were washing over me in my drifty state. The neighborhoods looked the same, but the vibe was different and I was having a difficult time feeling connected to this place that was once my home.
We ducked into a pub that was still located below the first flat I lived in when I moved to London. The building may have been old but the food was modern. A salad of figs, roasted beetroot and endive, a warmed potted camembert seasoned with a hint of rosemary and served with toasts and greens was out of this world and then some hand-cut potato chips with ketchup.
It wasn’t until the next day after some serious power sightseeing…
…and after seeing this pub along our way…what’s not to like – beer and pie?..
…when we were sitting around a table with a couple of friends, laughing, toasting to the joy of seeing each other again and sharing a tableful of goodies, that I began to feel at home again.
On our way back to our hotel, passing through Piccadilly Circus and Soho, I was feeling the fun groove of London nightlife.
This city is as vibrant as New York, but not quite as frenetic. Walking hand in hand with my husband sharing this little bit of my past with him, it felt important and fun.
On our last day in England, we were treated to a private tour of Abbey Road Studios but skipped the obvious crossing the street photo opp and then headed for the countryside estate to visit another longtime friend.
Walking through her extraordinary gardens, the dewy air so unlike the crisp dry air in Colorado, felt delicious. Everywhere my eyes laid, they found the site of a beautiful and rare bloom or petal floating on a koi pond or down a stream running through the property.
I was reminded of how a karmic thread has connected me to England for so long, by the people whom I loved but who are now gone, old friends, memories and history.
Back in Colorado, my father and step-mother have found themselves snowed in at our home. As the weather is so fickle there, a surprise snowstorm may dump a few inches of the white stuff one day and then, hopefully for my Dad, the shining sun and warm weather will return the next day and the snow will be gone.
Just before we left Colorado, I made this lovely rosemary and lime roasted chicken for dinner. I served it with potato stuffed poblano chiles, which was the perfect pairing.
HONEY, LIME & CUMIN ROASTED CHICKEN
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoon ground cumin
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
Mix all of the above ingredients together and pour over a 4-6 pound chicken and marinate for at least four hours turning once or twice during the process.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Just before roasting, place a couple of pats of butter under each side of the breast skin of the bird, along with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of lime. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper.
Cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and then turn down the heat to 350 and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced. Cover with a foil tent if the bird begins to brown too quickly.
Remove from oven, let sit for 5-10 minutes and then carve and serve.