Never Say Never

Travel these days is not for the faint-hearted. If one is not deterred by reports of overcrowded airports, lost luggage or delayed or even cancelled flights, one can but summon up all one’s courage and venture out into the wide, wide world.

So that is what we did. Neither of us is young any more and although OH doesn’t seem to flag at the sight of endless corridors or station platforms along which our suitcases have to be rolled, I must admit that I found it all a bit too much to take. Call me a little old lady, if you want, because that’s after all what I am. And little old ladies should stay at home, sit in an armchair and keep as still as possible. The sight of this little old lady schlepping suitcases along the endless stretches at Paddington station in London was enough to make anyone cry.

And London was not as welcoming as it has been in the past. It started with the hotel room we were given by the hotel at which we have stayed almost yearly for the last fifteen years. Although we specified when booking that we wanted a room overlooking Russell Square (which I enjoy painting from the window), we were given a room overlooking the side street. This room was so small that we were unable to sit or even stand anywhere comfortably. When we protested and demanded a room in accordance with our request, we were moved to a better room the next day. Then we realised — the room they had given us originally was in fact a single room! A new definition of British Chutzpa!

Then there was the weather. Anyone would think the British spent their holidays at the North Pole, the way they were carrying on about the heat. People were warned not to travel anywhere any time in or around London. And the scare tactics caused many people to avoid leaving home for the week or so of the hot weather. In fact, people did still move around and use public transport, as we did, and nothing went amiss. The many Israelis who were holidaying in London didn’t seem to be bothered by the weather, and carried on enjoying themselves as usual (as we did, too). It’s true, our room did not have air-conditioning so got rather hot, but we were given a fan, and we could sit in the air-conditioned foyer (the Atrium), which was very pleasant.

London theatre is as enjoyable as ever. Not only did we see an interesting and original play (Life of Pi), but at our hotel we were able to participate in the ‘Faulty Towers Dining Experience,’ which combined a slap-up evening meal with actors portraying the characters we know and love from the TV series of many years ago. It was a lot of fun!

At the National Gallery they were showing an impressive exhibition of works by Raphael, and at the Courtauld Institute, with its amazing collection of Impressionist paintings, there was an intriguing exhibition of work by the Norweigian painter, Edward Munch.

We managed to meet some of our friends in person and speak to others on the phone, so we felt that our journey had not been wasted. But considering the physical, mental and financial effort involved I wonder if it’s such a good idea for people of our advanced age to go and travel again.

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Travel these days is not for the faint-hearted. If one is not deterred by reports of overcrowded airports, lost luggage or delayed or even cancelled flights, one can but summon up all one’s courage and venture out into the wide, wide world.

So that is what we did. Neither of us is young any more and although OH doesn’t seem to flag at the sight of endless corridors or station platforms along which our suitcases have to be rolled, I must admit that I found it all a bit too much to take. Call me a little old lady, if you want, because that’s after all what I am. And little old ladies should stay at home, sit in an armchair and keep as still as possible. The sight of this little old lady schlepping suitcases along the endless stretches at Paddington station in London was enough to make anyone cry.

And London was not as welcoming as it has been in the past. It started with the hotel room we were given by the hotel at which we have stayed almost yearly for the last fifteen years. Although we specified when booking that we wanted a room overlooking Russell Square (which I enjoy painting from the window), we were given a room overlooking the side street. This room was so small that we were unable to sit or even stand anywhere comfortably. When we protested and demanded a room in accordance with our request, we were moved to a better room the next day. Then we realised — the room they had given us originally was in fact a single room! A new definition of British Chutzpa!

Then there was the weather. Anyone would think the British spent their holidays at the North Pole, the way they were carrying on about the heat. People were warned not to travel anywhere any time in or around London. And the scare tactics caused many people to avoid leaving home for the week or so of the hot weather. In fact, people did still move around and use public transport, as we did, and nothing went amiss. The many Israelis who were holidaying in London didn’t seem to be bothered by the weather, and carried on enjoying themselves as usual (as we did, too). It’s true, our room did not have air-conditioning so got rather hot, but we were given a fan, and we could sit in the air-conditioned foyer (the Atrium), which was very pleasant.

London theatre is as enjoyable as ever. Not only did we see an interesting and original play (Life of Pi), but at our hotel we were able to participate in the ‘Faulty Towers Dining Experience,’ which combined a slap-up evening meal with actors portraying the characters we know and love from the TV series of many years ago. It was a lot of fun!

At the National Gallery they were showing an impressive exhibition of works by Raphael, and at the Courtauld Institute, with its amazing collection of Impressionist paintings, there was an intriguing exhibition of work by the Norweigian painter, Edward Munch.

We managed to meet some of our friends in person and speak to others on the phone, so we felt that our journey had not been wasted. But considering the physical, mental and financial effort involved I wonder if it’s such a good idea for people of our advanced age to go and travel again.

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