Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Anything Exciting Happen While I Was Gone?

This morning at 6:30am London time, which was 12:30am in Chicago, as I was checking out of the London City Hotel, without any remaining WiFi availability, I asked if I could check something on an Employee-Only computer.

Whether my flight was still scheduled to depart on-time?

Sure, but only after I went to ESPN.com to see if the Blackhawks won, and upon learning the shocking way they did, to watch the highlights of the tying and winning goal.

I wish I had seen it live, and perhaps technically I could have had I found an all-night sports bar in London with satellite TV.

But getting some sleep before making my way to Heathrow was a good choice.

I was booked onto a 10:30am flight to JFK and would have had to get to LaGuardia for an evening flight to O'Hare. But once at Heathrow, I was able to get put onto a 12:50pm flight direct from London to O'Hare, schedule to arrive at 3:30pm.

I am writing this from a lounge in Heathrow, but as I already used my allotment of free wifi, won't post this until I am presumably safely back in Chicago.

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Anyway, though I'm sorry I missed the Stanley Cup, I'm glad the Hawks wrapped it up before I got back and have no regrets about being in Europe during this championship fortnight.

I had a wonderful time on this trip, which despite persistent pain in my heels--due to some combination of extensive walking, bad shoes, old age and too much weight--was more acutely pleasurable than other European expeditions.

Because I am intent on getting to as many sights as possible, and never content to just sit around, I have enjoyed past overseas trips more in retrospect and memory--both my own and the photos stored on my computer--than in the present tense.

Though at times a bit arduous, this was a really pleasurable trip as I was on it.

I greatly enjoyed all 5 cities I visited and would recommend them all to anyone. But I guess I'd say my biggest surprise was how much I liked Krakow.

I had read good things about it, but somewhat perceived it as a place to visit surrounding a jaunt to Auschwitz, which for some reason I wanted to see.

But though unlike London, Vienna and Paris, I saw no great art or iconically historic buildings, I really just loved being there and walking around probably more than anywhere else on this trip or in ready memory.

Of course, I loved London and seeing Springsteen at Wembley and Les Miserables and Matilda. 

In London I saw the royal family and in Vienna, I saw three grand palaces.

All told I visited 7 art museums.

While fine dining wasn't my focus, I enjoyed some nice meals.

I saw three cities--and many things--I've never seen before, and returned again to my beloved London and Paris.

So despite what I missed at home, I'm glad I went.

But I'm also happy to be home. That's how life should be.

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