In the three months since we’ve returned from our epic trip this year, it’s not as though New York hasn’t been exciting, so maybe I have no excuse for not posting. But being at home comes with its own set of seemingly mundane chores, sights and events, and it’s hard to see them through someone else’s eyes. Who knows? A routine trip to the doctor at one of our world-class hospitals might have been fascinating if you yourself don’t get out much.
At any rate, we’ve been busy, but not in ways that seem particularly noteworthy. I am auditing some classes at Hunter College this term, and my schedule had some days free on the calendar, courtesy of the Jewish holidays. It seemed like a good time to go to London, which is true of many weeks. So here we are.
This is a mini-trip for us. One city, one hotel, one unpacking – but a mere eight nights. We are located in Mayfair, almost across the street from the Ritz, though not in the Ritz. Very convenient.
Our first event was a visit to our friends Liz and Bernard, which was a lovely way to start our holiday. Catching up over a cup of tea in their lovely garden room was very comforting, even when the conversation turned to the political state of our mutual countries and blood pressures escalated – or at least mine did.
Saturday we caught up with friends June and Alan in Greenwich, which is filled with fascinating places at the center of the prime meridian, including an early 20th century foot tunnel under the Thames. A lift takes passengers down down down and then the walk begins.
Our focus was The Queen’s House, designed by Inigo Jones in 1616, commissioned by Anne of Denmark, wife of James I. While she died before it was completed, it is now a jewel box filled with art treasures and period artifacts. An afternoon wedding preempted our view of the main hall, but there were lots of other treasures to see, including some photo portraits of current residents of Greenwich.
Yesterday, we went a bit further back in time. We took a day trip to Chichester, a 12th century cathedral city in West Sussex. It has a long history as a settlement of the Romans, and we visited the site of a Roman palace, whose wonderful mosaics were uncovered by accident in the 1960’s.
The town of Chichester is charming and quite posh. It is crowned by its cathedral, named in honor of the Holy Trinity, and has bits from all the last nine centuries inside, including a Chagall window and some Roman mosaics.
It is guarded, it seems, by Saint Richard, a new one for me. He has the presence of Lord Voldemort, but his vigilance may have helped preserve this lovely church.
Our last stop in town was the Pallant Art Gallery/Museum, a repository of the collection of a wealthy local and dean of the cathedral. Some interesting things, but mostly a very attractive house.
All in all, a great beginning to our short adventure.