Outside London

I apologize for the break between posts. I unsuccessfully attempted to dedicate writing time while traveling. Instead, I took a much-needed break from everything. I spent time in the present with my spouse and friends. But as promised, the next couple of posts will be about my travel adventures. Travel is good for the soul.

When last we met, we were leaving London. I noted some differences between pre-pandemic London and post-pandemic London. We traveled from London to Maidenhead via train (as I write this post, it could be more challenging to do this with rail strikes occurring). For a visitor, travel by train in the UK is very easy and very affordable if you buy in advance and travel off peak. I recommend everyone utilize the public transportation options in the UK and Europe.

Upon arrival in Maidenhead, we were reunited with a long-time (40+ years) and very dear friend. We have not seen her or her family since January 2020. It was wonderful to reconnect.

Our friends live in the English countryside near Henley-on-Thames. Henley has an amazing history. George Orwell spent his formative years in Henly and Russell Brand reportedly calls Henley home. However, Henley is most known for its annual rowing regatta which I hope to attend someday. If you are looking for the quintessential English experience, go to Henley. Walk along the Thames, visit the rowing museum, and visit the shops.

This visit to Henley was about visiting friends. They graciously invite us into their home for a few days and show us around the area. What I most enjoy are the walks in the countryside. There are many dedicated public paths and options available. In less than an hour, you can walk along the Thames, through a forest, through a deer park, and to a pub. Since walking is one of the best things you can do for your health, we spent much of our time walking around the countryside.

When not walking around the countryside, we were walking through gardens. People take their gardens very seriously in this part of the world. The climate is very suitable to have a great garden. It doesn’t have the extremes you see in South Dakota. While we were there, the days warmed to around 70 degrees and cooled to the mid-fifties at night. There were few pesky bugs and the air quality was very good. As I wandered through the gardens, I wondered whether one could achieve similar results where I live. So many beautiful flowers and grasses in the gardens. Perhaps that will be a summer project for me.

But the best part of the visit to this area involved time spent with friends conversing about life, food, wine, politics, and business. The discussion were interesting, intellectual, and informative. I am reminded the pandemic reduced the opportunities for these kinds of discussions. It was wonderful to share them again.

After three full days, it was time to move on to new adventures. Next stop – Edinburgh.