Thank you London
Wednesday, when we arrived back to London we checked back into the Savoy Hotel (another piece of Heaven), and were escorted to another amazing riverside room with possibly an even better view of London – because it was on the corner so even the bathroom had a view of Parliament! We walked down to lunch at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – back to one of the first places I went to in London! We hung out in the hotel until it was time for dinner. Our final dinner in London was at Little Social. A cozy, and delicious french restaurant. We shared oysters, and I had….guess….the steak frites! For desserts I had house made truffles and Anthony had the cheese plate. All with a bottle of wine, it was the perfect meal for the last night in London.
Thursday. The final day. Our flight was not until 5 so we had the morning to enjoy. We decided on the London Eye and it was the most gorgeous day to overlook my city one last time. We had lunch at the Sommerset House, where the Courtauld Gallery is, and walked along the river. Our cab driver on the way to the airport was amazing, full of knowledge about the city and talked lots of shop about football with Anthony and I. He took us a great scenic route by way of Trafalgar Square, the Mall, Buckingham Palace, by Knightsbridge and Harrods, and a great sight as we exited central London right by our Victoria and Albert Museum.
Anthony and I had to depart our amazing hotel, but luckily we were headed off to Ireland! We departed early and arrived in Dublin at lunchtime. Anthony’s cousins Anna and Trevor were waiting for us as we exited. Which was really exciting for me because it is the first time someone has been waiting for me in my entire European vacation! Words cannot express how amazing they are, and how perfect they made our trip. They drove us out to their dairy farm in Navan. We spend Sunday through Wednesday being driven around to all the sites, fed amazing meals every day, and had amazing conversation on top of it all. Side note – several calves were born while we were there at the farm so even through their busy time they still managed to be the best hosts ever.
Day one, Sunday, we saw Slane Castle, drove up to Carlingford which is a beautiful town on the East coast. I had clam chowder and my first Guinness of the trip! -Which the men were all impressed by. Afterwards we drove up into Northern Ireland (new country down, yay!). We headed back to the farm, hung out with Rhys – Anthony’s cousin who is near our age.
Day two, Monday we went to Newgrange – which is older than Stonehenge! They had a full visitor center, museum, and tour that led you up and inside the mound. It was pretty incredible. Then we went to another mound like Newgrange called Dowth – but is currently untouched. Maybe in the years to come they will be as famous (and tourist heavy) as Newgrange! We also went to Battle of the Boyne visitor center and learned all about the battle and saw the fields it was fought on. Which, as Trevor explained, was not only important historically for Ireland but for all of the UK. It must be so cool to have so much history in your own backyard. We ate lunch at the Old Post Office in town. Also we were spoiled with the weather. It barely rained, and if it did it was a very light drizzle for a short period of time, and we saw so many rainbows! After that we drove around the area and saw several amazing houses, a cool old cemetery and back home to another super delicious meal!
Day three, Tuesday, we woke up to a traditional Irish breakfast! Much like an English one but better because the eggs came from down the road, the milk from the backyard and the sausage from the neighbor. Ah.mazing. We went to Trim Castle. This is where they shot Braveheart! It was gorgeous, and so well perserved. Then we went up to the Hill of Tara, where we could see everything. We ate lunch at the restaurant right below. After that we went up to the Hill of Slane, where St Patrick lit the paschal fire. Another place with breathtaking views – and we could see across to the Hill of Tara that we had just left. After that we went back to the farm and down to the hanger and air strip! Trevor is an instructor and owner of planes, so of course we had to go up! Anthony wasn’t sure he would like it so much, so instead of flying to Galway for lunch we went up to see how he would do…and he was just fine! I sat in the pilots seat, and actually got to FLY THE PLANE! It was so so so so cool. We flew West over all sorts of beautiful land and water. Trevor would say, head for that lake, or that hill and I would take us there. He has me hooked. He showed us the Kellaher land and all the sites we had been seeing from above. He made me fly through a cloud, and at one point it was like we were flying through a rainbow! Not to toot my own horn but Trevor said I was a natural. We landed in time for a drink a the local pub to watch the Arsenal match and back to the farm for dinner.
Day four, Wednesday, we woke up to another Irish breakfast, and sadly off to the airport. Ireland was Heaven. There is no better way to put it and I’m so grateful for our amazing hosts!
Saturday. The best day of my life (so far!)
Saturday morning we had to be out of Byng by 10am. I finished my final packing, threw out the contents of the fridge, took out the trash, said goodbye to my roommate and was off! Anthony had picked out a hotel for us to stay at, and kept it a surprise for me. I took the Tube over to the Victoria and Albert Museum because Anthony really wanted to see the David Bowie exhibit, and I knew how quickly they sold out. I waited in line for an hour until Anthony joined me and we waited another thirty minutes. We got our timed tickets, and had time to have lunch in the cafe. We ate sandwiches and sat in their beautiful main section of the cafe. Then we went to the Bowie exhibition which was really extensive, and pretty neat. From there we decided to look around the rest of the museum, including the Medieval sections for Anthony and his new obsession with Game of Thrones. We talked about plans for the rest of the day, including going to St Pauls. Before we left we decided to walk through the 17th and 18th century sections so I could show off my knowledge. We came to a fork in the road and I said, oh we have to go over here I want to show you something really neat. We walked into the Music Room. It is the panels from the Music Room in the Norfolk House and is beautiful with white paneling and gold gilding, lit by ‘candlelight’. When we walked in there were two people just leaving so we had the space to ourselves. This is when Anthony took my hand, and proposed! He got down on one knee and put the most beautiful ring on my finger and I was stunned! I had no idea that was about to happen and he took me completely by surprise. I knew he would probably propose soon, maybe during the trip, maybe in Ireland or the last day, or even when we got home but I did not think it was going to be that moment. It was absolutely perfect.
After that I was floating on Cloud Nine. We hung around in the room for a bit, took some pictures, and then I thought we were on the way to St Pauls since Anthony really wanted to go there. But it turned out, that was just a ruse and instead we headed to the hotel. We got off the Tube at Embankment and on the way to the hotel there was a restaurant handing out free pizza slices! Then we went up a back road to the main street just as a bride was getting out of her car for her wedding. It was all fate! We walked up the Strand and stopped in front of The Savoy! The most amazing and beautiful hotel in London with tons of history, and this was my surprise! Famous occupants include Sir Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Maria Callas, Claude Monet and Katharine Hepburn! We were treated like royalty and were shown around the hotel, the restaurants, gym, business center and most importantly to a special elevator up to the top floor where we were staying. We went up and were greeted by our butler. Yes, our butler. We stayed in a river side suite, which includes its own butler of course. He showed us around the suite which included an entry room with a guest bathroom, a full sitting area with couches, desk, side bar, master bedroom and master bathroom with a claw foot tub and a rain shower, a walk in closet and most importantly the rooms had the most amazing views of London I have ever seen. It was a clear shot of the London Eye, Big Ben and all the bridges. They also had personalized stationary that said Anthony Kellaher, In Residence and the dates! They also had a bottle of champagne ready and rose petals. The suite we stayed in was called the Katharine Hepburn suite and had her pictures and paintings of her on the way, her movies and books and even a framed receipt for the suite we were in that she wrote on and signed! We scheduled high tea with the butler downstairs, and The Savoy High Tea is one of the best in London. It was really a beautiful setting. I sat on a couch and there was a woman playing the grand piano right behind me. They even brought out an extra plate of sandwiches (how do they know me so well?). Between those, the desserts, champagne and tea we were stuffed. We decided to spend the rest of the evening enjoying our amazing hotel and to Skype with family members and friends to tell them the good news! After high tea at 5, we were hungry again around 11 and ordered room service! I could not ask for a more perfect day.
Friday – The final day!
Friday was the last day of school…which was a luncheon with all the different schools. So I was able to see all the Georgetown Girls, even the ones in the other programs. It was only a few short hours but a great way to wrap up and say goodbye.
Friday was also the day Anthony arrived!! He got in around 8am, and slept during my lunch. Afterwards we headed out first to see the BBC’s Sherlock’s house which is not far from where I live. From there we walked through Regents Park all the way to Abbey Road. We saw the studios and the famous crosswalk. With that I checked everything off my London to do list! We had a few hours to kill before dinner so we walked south through St John’s Wood and down through Hyde Park. We walked around the Serpentine and sat on a bench for awhile. Then we went to Harrods, found the Princess Diana Memorial in the basement, then walked over to our restaurant. We went to Roti Chai, which was a really delicious Indian restaurant. It reminded me of Rasika in Washington, DC. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, then walked it off home. I found all the Byng Place girls hanging out in one apartment so we stopped by to say our real last goodbyes. I will miss having such great friends, so close, in such an amazing city. I had finished packing and was ready to sleep, wake up early and bid my home for the last four months so long!
Thursday – Today felt like a weekend because school is over! Very crazy to say that, but it is.
I woke up early this morning and took advantage of the sunshine and ran to Regents Park to play some footy! The park is gorgeous and all the flowers have bloomed. I took to the big field to dribble and practice my goal kicks. It was lovely. I had lunch with Kate, Mia, Brittany, Kristin, and Anna. We had an indoor picnic with food from the farmers market across the street. The weather has decided to be incredibly London – windy and spurts of rain – so we though indoors was safest. I had to say goodbye to two of the girls who left tonight for trips in Europe before heading home. I spent the afternoon with Kate wandering around the city, including stops into Leicester Square (to see the Banana Stand that is on tour for the promotion of Arrested Development!), The National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Art and St Martins-in-the-Field (a favorite spot of Gwyneth Paltrow). We then went to dinner at Meat Liquor – which is one of the most popular places in the city currently. You wait in line outside and they bring you in closer strategically until you wait at the bar for your table. The concept is its all drinks, and then burgers! (and wings, and chicken sandwiches, and fries – plain, cheese or chili cheese – and hot fudge sundae desserts…). I got the “Dirty Hippie” burger, which consisted of two patties, “dirty hippy sauce” and chopped up onions. It tasted like a super fancy Big Mac! We split cheese fries and opted for cans of Coke instead of the liquor. The inside was pretty crazy, with street art all over the walls and funky lighting. I felt cooler by just being in the room, and all the food was delicious too! It was a really great night, and a perfect way to end my alone time here since Anthony arrives tomorrow morning!!!!
One week from today I’ll be flying home!