(Join Tales Told From The Road for the final day of its month-long virtual European journey.)
Today, after a month long, east-to-west jaunt across the European Continent, we’ll return to where our journey began: London.
While we could fly over the English Channel to get there. But instead, we’ll take the fast, just under two hour rail trip to Brussels where we’ll board the Eurostar train and dive under that salty strait about midway during the two-plus hour ride to London’s St. Pancras station, a huge pile of bricks assembled during the Victorian era and recently modernized to serve as England’s end of the Eurostar line.
As we rocket our way across the Belgian countryside, we’ll raise a glass of champagne to toast the final rail journey and the imminent conclusion of our European odyssey.
But how should we spend the last day of vacation before flying home tomorrow?
We’ve had our fill of cathedrals, castles, and museums.
So let’s do something different: Go on a “shopping spree”!
We’ll generally follow the route of the “Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Walk in Rick Steve’s London guidebook.
While we saw no familiar American corporate symbols during our meander through Amsterdam’s Albert Cuyp Markt, that won’t be the case when we exit the Oxford Circus subway station and stroll down Regent Street and come across the Apple and Timberland retail stores.
Outside, the store looks like an old-time vessel which shouldn’t come as a surprise since the timbers of two ships, HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindusta, were used in its 1924 renovation.
At midday we’ll leave Liberty in our wake and walk a couple of blocks down Carnaby Street and join London officer workers and other shoppers for a quick lunch at the Cha Cha Moon noodle bar.
Our feet are holding up well so instead of hailing a “Black Cab” we’ll continue on foot to Piccadilly Circus and over to Piccadilly Street, pop into St. James’s Church and listen to part of an early afternoon recital, and then hit our next department store, Fortnum & Mason where the famous food baskets are out of our price range but cake and coffee in the store’s Fountain Restaurant are not.
We’ll think about walking a mile-plus to the prestigious Harrod’s department store, but half-way there, think better of it.
We’ll opt instead to spend the last few hours of our trip the way we began it in London a month ago by strolling past the monuments, fountains, and leafy trees in Hyde Park before taking a short nap to end the afternoon.
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