SO…where were we? Oh, we were in Scotland at the train station and I was thinking that Scotland would always be my favorite vacation spot and then someone told me that the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn (true story) and also that Scotland recently had to shut down part of a castle after a “very angry badger” took up residence there and refused to be lured out with peanuts and cat food and then I realized that Scotland was made for me and probably I should go live there. And I’m fine with angry badgers because Victor travels all the time so it’d be like he was there even when he wasn’t, plus badgers eat snakes so it’d be like I had a personal snake security guard with me. EVERYONE WINS.
We planned to take a sleeper train from Scotland to London and it seemed very smart because not only do you travel at night so you sleep through the travel but also you don’t have to spend money on a hotel because you sleep on the train, and it was awesome. Mostly it was awesome at teaching us how much we never want to take a sleeper train again because as soon as I squeezed into the tiny room with all our suitcases I had the first bout of claustrophobia I’d had in 10 years and I had to tell Victor and Hailey to stop breathing because they were using up all the air and also the room was so tiny it smelled like feet and farts and fear almost immediately. It was exciting though to see the country from the window and I enjoyed the booze part of the dining car once I stopped hyperventilating.
Also, people on twitter told me I needed to eat “neeps & tatties” so I asked for them but I forgot the name so instead I was like, “It’s Scottish and it goes with haggis? I want to say ‘nipples and titties’ but I’m pretty sure that’s not it” and they agreed hardily. Turns out it’s “neeps & tatties” (shorthand for “turnips & potatoes”) but I think I was pretty close. Not close enough for the dining car people though, who were very confused, but in my defense this is a country that also sells “pasties” and they aren’t what you think they are either so I’m pretty sure none of this is my fault. Victor disagrees.
But he did agree that the sleeper train was not a great fit for us (literally) but was excellent practice for prison. I asked Victor to order 50 hard-boiled eggs and a harmonica but the dining car was out of both, I guess.
At the time, this night was one of the most uncomfortable of the vacation but looking back it was one of the best and I laughed myself a little sick. So never mind, I’ve decided I like the train after all.
Jesus. This is supposed to be about London and I’m still on the damn train from Scotland. Let’s hurry this up.
We got to London and were the last people on earth to see Hamilton (although Hailey and I already knew all the words by heart and I want a medal for not singing along) and I cried so much I gave myself a headache. Also it was weird going to London to see a play about America but it worked.
We went to Dennis Severs’ House and it was an introvert’s dream because basically you’re going to a party where you’re not allowed to speak, the other guests are invisible and also Dennis Severs’ is dead so literally you get to enjoy an amazing (probably haunted) time capsule art installation house in absolute silence. I can’t explain it well and I wasn’t allowed to take pictures but if you’re ever in London you should totally go.
We went to the Tower of London and saw the crown jewels and the torture chambers and the ravens and the weather was miserable but it matched the mood of the place so I give it points for accuracy.
Then we did the cheesy touristy London Dungeon, and I’m aware that it’s a terrible waste to go to the country where history comes from and spend hours at a semi-horror amusement part but we know who we are and we are the kind of people who love cheesy horror and ridiculousness and being chased by Jack the Ripper. Part of traveling is learning who you are. Turns out we are those people.
There were a lot of other things we wanted to do but I had a small panic attack at the bus station that left me needing to hide in a hotel room (but only for a few hours and this is what progress looks like for me) and Hailey sprained her ankle so we skipped all of the other stuff and just took our kid to a bar. But it was a bar that had a full replica of Sherlock Holmes’ flat so I can’t be blamed. Also, I was told that kids go to bars all the time in London so I guess in that way it’s a lot like Texas.
We wanted to do high tea but we couldn’t get in anywhere since we waited too late and honestly that was fine because I didn’t even know what high tea was. Turns out it’s just tea, but sitting up high at a table rather than a couch, so I’m not sure what the draw is. “Low tea” is drinking at a low sofa which seems better to me. Personally I prefer “Super-low tea” which involves having wine coolers and cupcakes in your bathtub and which I just made up.
Then we went to Trafalgar Square where I half fell in the fountain getting this picture:
We watched the sunset and scraped our elbows climbing onto the giant lion statues and for a moment everything was golden. I breathed. I felt. I soaked it in. I stopped, and all was good.
And then we got on another train for France. Let’s take a break, okay? I need some super-low tea.
PS. Everywhere in Scotland I kept seeing these signs that said “TO LET” and I was like, “They spelled ‘TOILET’ wrong” but apparently ‘letting’ is like ‘leasing’ and that makes more sense but also I was very impressed with the children of Scotland for not graffitiing an “I” into every sign because apparently they have much more self control/class than I do or possibly they just aren’t tall enough to do what all of us are thinking.