A Post About London

On March 30, Joanna and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary. The idea of it is utterly absurd. Only old people have been married that long. And we’re not old. Certainly not old enough to have shared a home for a full decade. And certainly not old enough to have spent more than a third of our lives together.

I’ll write more about marriage and anniversaries next week, but for now I’m excited to announce that, in celebration of The Big Ten, Jo and I have booked ourselves a flight to London. We’re not especially spontaneous people, so this is all slightly terrifying. Last week, a friend sent us a link to a British Airways deal, we talked about it for a day or two, and then we made our reservations. Twelve days, eleven nights, taking off three weeks from Friday. Crazy.

When I was fifteen, my parents took my sister and me on our last big family vacation together before Laura left for college. It was one of those all-inclusive, “see Paris and London in a week” kind of trips. And I loved every second of it, mostly because of the pack of students — all girls from a high school in Syracuse — who were part of our tour group. Seeing London and Paris was great too. It remains my only experience of Europe.

When we were undergrads, Joanna spent a summer in London and knows the city fairly well. We’ll be spending the first eight nights of our trip in her old stomping grounds — Bloomsbury, directly across the street from the British Museum. The last three nights will be in Maida Vale, three or four miles northwest of there.

There are many, many advantages to living in East Tennessee, but high culture ain’t one of them. Which is why I like to travel once or twice a year to metropolitan centers. We’ll inevitably see some of the touristy sights, but I’m eager to step off the beaten track.

So now I’m seeking advice and recommendations . . .

  • Museums — Along with the big ones (the British, the Tate), where do we need to go?
  • Restaurants — They say London has the best Indian food in the world?
  • Theaters — Where can I see hard-to-find films? Can I take a risk on any particular drama companies?
  • Shopping — What are the must-browse book and music stores?
  • Live Music — Any favorite clubs or live venues?
  • Day trips — I’m thinking a day in Oxford would be fun. Other suggestions?