- Meeting my new(ish) niece for the first time, and observing my brother and sister-in-law as wonderful parents;
- Reintroducing my mother to the UK many decades after her emigration from there;
- The pub lunch;
- The Tower of London, because every time I find another room I haven't seen before, and because you really do feel as though you stepped back in time;
- The winding roads, hedgerows, manor houses, ancient forest that looks like Watership Down (before the apocalypse);
- The British Library "treasures" collection, because yes that is the _________ (fill in the blank with any authentic document you can think of), for real;
- The underground, on the first day for novelty value, and on subsequent days just for being efficient;
- The windows at Harrods, which were decked up to show scenes from Peter Pan and which looked amazing;
- London A-Z, because maps rock, and a pocket-sized map of London really rocks;
- The Woman in Black, now in its 21st year, because every time I go it's like the first time and the hair stands up on my arms;
- In-flight movie screens that play through take off and landing, that work by touch, and give access to more than eighty movies, not to mention TV shows, so that nervous fliers have something to do every minute of the flight;
Things that were less wonderful:
- The cost to get into Westminster Abbey: now 15 pounds, just to get in, which is nearly the entrance price for the Tower of London. I understand it's a landmark, and needs expensive maintenance, but it's a cathedral, and I'm sure you just boosted the price because it's been picked as the wedding venue for William and Kate. But for that price, you could heat the place, and the bones of the kings and queens of england could be more comfortable, as could I;
- The underground, because you look at people working in holes in the wall down there and think what the state of their lungs must be like. Besides, who wants to spend an hour in each direction to commute, standing?
- The weather, because although snow is lovely, it stresses the infrastructure like the apocalypse, and minus temps in London just aren't fun;
- Showing up at St. Paul's to discover it's been closed for a US Thanksgiving service. I'm happy they did it, but our timing was way off.
- The interior design of Harrods, which is modeled after a Venus Fly Trap;
- The design of the touch screens in the plane. Seriously, who didn't realize that people obsessively poking the back of your head for a ten hour flight wouldn't be fun? And I know there is technology for making other people's screens less visible. Every screen for rows in each direction was perfectly visible, so that all children on the flight had a nice clear view of every action film, shoot out, sex scene, crime scene, and ... oh year, Dexter, whenever they turned their little heads.
- Heathrow airport. Because although flying just isn't much fun anymore, it's a wonder anybody makes their flight from Heathrow!
So glad I went. By next year, I'll be ready to go again!