London…and Abba Voyage

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Dawn saw us maneuvering into the dock back in Southampton, an electrical storm greeting our return to England.

Fast track disembarkation was super easy and we were off the boat and waiting for our transport into London by not much past 7.30am. Our driver was prompt and the trip took about two hours through the Sunday morning rain. (As an aside we’d opted to share a private minivan transport to our respective hotels rather than do the train juggle. It cost £175 between the four of us and was well worth it…)

While Heather and John are staying at a hotel in Piccadilly, we’ve opted for the Georgian House Hotel in Pimlico. We’ve stayed here on our last two visits to London and it’s been comfortable and an easy 10-minute walk to Victoria station. I told you more about it here. Unable to check in, Grant and I dumped our bags at the hotel, donned rainjackets and backpacks and began walking in the direction of Elizabeth Street, Belgravia where the streets are all dressed up for autumn.

When the rain began to seep in under our jackets we took shelter at Sicily (our fave Italian restaurant from previous trips) for coffee and Italian pastries until the worst of the rain had stopped.

Dry-ish again we battled our way through the crowds (I’d forgotten about the crowds) and up past Victoria Station onto Buckingham Palace Rd, eventually pushing our way through to the Palace shop (which was also mobbed) to buy me a new wooden spoon (I really lovely these wooden spoons) and Sarah a new keyring (they just don’t last as they should do lol). I know, we’re sad sad people.

Back down through the backstreets of Belgravia we came across Eccleston Yards – which has styled itself as The Little Cocktail Village in Belgravia. At midday on a rainy Sunday there wasn’t much happening, but I could see how it would be quite the place for a Sunday session in better weather.

By the time we’d retraced our steps, Jo Loves – a perfume shop we love – was open and we were able to duck in and get a present for Sarah (Cedar Shards) and a replacement bottle for me (Burnt Orange and Coriander) before filling in some more time at The Travellers Rest – a pub just near Victoria Coach Station and a short walk from our accommodation.

Thankfully by now we can check in so make our way back to Georgian House Hotel to dry off properly and recharge the phone.

Our room is smaller than we remember the rooms being and sooooo hot. There’s a pedestal fan that’s the only concession to airflow and I suspect we’ll need to have it running all night. The bathroom is also a giggle. While small (no surprises there) the toilet is jammed in behind the sink so you have to sit on the loo sideways and swing your legs around to fit underneath the sink – first remembering to take the toilet roll off its holder. Too much information? Plus if I was any wider I’d have problems getting through the sliding door of the shower. Reason no. 4565 to lose weight. I think Heather and John had the right idea in staying elsewhere – while it’s really central here we’re getting a tad old to choose cost over comfort methinks…On reflection each previous time we’ve stayed has been in December so heat was not an issue.

Dried off, and recharged, it’s back down to Victoria Station to reload our oyster cards and make our way down to Pudding Mill Lane Station and the Abba Arena for the Abba concert later this afternoon.

The mood around the arena as we wait for Heather and John to arrive is electric – and I adore the merchandising. Best Christmas jumper ever. So many people have dressed up and the music makes you want to sing and dance before you even get inside.

As for the show? Best. Night. Ever. I have no idea how they’ve done it, but even though you know they’re Abba-tars, they look and move as if they’re really on stage – interacting with each other and the audience. We’re on the dance floor and the energy is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced from a show.

We’re still singing (as are half the audience) as we wait for our train.

Leaving Heather and John to head back to their hotel near Piccadilly we end up back at Sicily for bowls of pasta and glasses of red wine – so tired and footsore that it’s a struggle to eat or drink anything.

Tomorrow we’re off on a pub crawl – the theme of which is hidden gems…

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

4 thoughts

Comments are closed.