June 20, 2013
This morning I dropped off our laundry-it was washed, folded and returned this afternoon. I could get used to this. I mentioned that we were getting a late start today and Hanni offered a breakfast in bed option. The service is so high level here that it shocks me to see no one leaving tips at the breakfast tables. Perhaps one tips at the end of the stay?
Between having walked miles yesterday and saturated our senses with the many sites of Bath and knowing that we are leaving tomorrow for London, we deliberately slowed the pace down a bit. During a mid-morning break for tea in the Abbey square we listened to a soprano with a lovely voice, who hit all the high notes without strain. It’s a pet peeve of mine when someone with a weak upper register sings “The Heart Must Go On” because it mustn’t, not if you can’t sing it. Later we strolled through town and spent some time enjoying the city parks and bridges over the Avon River–not to be confused with the river further north of Stratford-Upon-Avon Shakespearean fame. By the way, you are welcome the spell the Bard’s name as Shakespeare or Shakespear as he spelled it both ways. Many of us would appreciate the flexibility of spelling in Elizabethan times. Perhaps that’s texting’s contribution to the future of language. LMAO. Perhaps not.
This afternoon we had a “proper tea” in a local restaurant, opting to wait for the high tea experience in London–maybe. Besides two, thin crustless sandwiches, we were supposed to ingest 2 scones and 4 desserts: lemon tart, strawberry cream tartlet, chocolate decadence cake, and something like fruit cake only with pumpkin seeds on top (and unlike fruit cake in my experience, it was good). It’s a lowering reflection to realize that everyone has better pastries than we (Americans) do. I can attest to the truth of this in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Scotland, and now England. And I haven’t even gotten to France yet. Before you start defending pastry in the US, I have one thing to say to you: donuts. And don’t mention beignets or croissants because they aren’t ours–they’re French!
I’ve been avoiding this discussion, but after nearly a week in the UK it’s time to acknowledge the obvious: pounds are not dollars. This is easy to forget when a cup of tea might cost 3.95 GBP (Great Britain Pounds). So $4.00, not so bad, right? Well, it’s not $4; it’s 4 GBP! Today that’s $6.08 in dollars–$6.08 for water and a bag (okay sometimes it’s loose tea in a cute pot but still). Food, in general, is more expensive here; in fact I haven’t found anything that struck me as a less expensive than the US. I wonder if people from Europe and the UK think the US is a bargain. Probably not. None of this has stopped me from shopping of course. Besides, I couldn’t buy an authentic, made in Scotland, pink version of the Royal Stewart plaid, child’s size kilt in the US at any price, could I? And don’t mention that I could’ve bought it online. What’s the fun in that?