We made it. Door to door it was about 22 hours of travel. That is a lot of cramped, can't move, You Call This Food What is This, Oh God I Hope My Neighbour Isn't Chatty dread.
I try and tell myself we are lucky to make it to Europe within in a day, when historically, well, it was impossible. But not 100 years ago it would involve a unlikely amount of canoeing, steamships, and a non zero expected mortality rate.
But it's still over twenty hours of travel. There is a level of exhaustion where you just loop around to what seems like a full tank but is really just you tired, but delusional about your capabilities. Simple math, never terribly simple for me, becomes a bit of a chore. Directions become like backward haikus. I'm sure they say something meaningful, but really, at best, they only give me an impression of information.
So it's with this level of cognition that we land in London, and take the tube to our hotel. Well, the impression of things being old hits you pretty hard. The tube stations are ground down and worn out and also, probably, filled with unlikely history that are completely opaque to me at the moment. There are also bits of the station that are beautiful and lovingly crafted decades ago. Even amongst the various bits that are in crumbling disrepair one gets the sense they could stil handle another Blitz, if it came to it.
In the trains themselves one feels the throughput of millions of people. Just an endless press of humanity weathering and ageing every surface, every plastic industrial high impact curve. These is what the transit system at home will look like in a few decades.
We get to the place we are staying, a b&b. Well, I'd imagined it was a b&b before corporate buyouts and mergers and right sizing of every nook and cranny of hospitality. Where an old lady with a rather decided opinion on the way to make tea and an excellent assortment of cookies (sorry, biscuits) awaited us.
Maybe my bed would have a hand made comforter that had won a village fair competition, my imagination, if not quite racing, certainly jogged at a considerable rate.
Sadly, Corporate had made it's mark here. The breakfast, admittedly, were great, but they were cooked by an actual cook, and fairly professionally. There was dreary sense of competence to the cooking. No odd quirks I was hoping for, like, perhaps, the table would be set with a small bowl of lard, for dipping.
The bed was covered with the same sort of linen you see everywhere. Comfortable, but not overly so, and of the right blend of materials that could take quite a bit of repeat bleaching.
And of course, it's London, specifically in an area we can easily walk to the attractions, so our room was ... not Kowloon , The Slum City of Hong Kong small? But small enough that finding one chair in the 3 bedroom suite seemed like a bit TOO much furniture.
But we made it, we made it thorugh the 20 whatever hours, we didnt get overly lost, and, actually, the biscuits were quite good.