The sun was shining on our last morning in Paris so we headed out for our usual morning walk.
We packed up our bags and left them in the apartment whilst we went down to have our last coffee. There was a small cafe in Place Saint Michel that was bathed in full morning sun so we headed there. We weren’t the only ones chasing the sun though as this cafe was rather full whilst the others, in the shade, hadn’t even bothered opening yet.
Our apartment had to be vacated by 10.30 so we made the most of the sun until that time. We were at the airport by 11am and had a few hours to kill before our 1.45pm flight which we were able to do whilst sitting in comfort and warmth of some sun. Our pilot sure had a lot of fun dipping and weaving the airbus A319 during the short flight across from Paris to London. I thought he might have been an Aussie pilot, out enjoying the sunshine, or that maybe he’d had two G & Ts to my one! Either that or else he kept getting lost in the narrow corridor from Orly to Heathrow. I just hoped that he could land the plane horizontally as he sure had trouble flying it that way.
Our flight brought us into Terminal 5 and we had to catch a courtesy bus to collect our Avis rental car. It was a rather lengthy shuttle journey and I just kept wondering during the trip how we would ever find the place again to return the car. I had memories of our 2010 European driving trip all over again and, it is worth noting here that, I’ve only just got over my anxieties with the combination of foreign roads, Mark and Sat Nav systems.
Kingston upon Thames: Chase Lodge Hotel:
We were staying out at Chase Lodge, a small B& B at Hampton Wick, Kingston upon Thames for the night before catching our flight home. The drive to the Lodge ended up being fairly easy but stirred quite a few emotions within me. I’d spent many hours watching UK TV whilst I spent months recovering from cancer. As we drove along theses suburban roads I kept expecting Kirstie and Phill (of ‘Location, Location, Location’) to wander out of a house and to start chatting to me about the appeal of the various properties we were passing. It was quite surreal but, needless to say,neither of them appeared. Our arrival into the quirky little Chase Lodge was not
that different. I kept expecting that feisty presenter from ‘The Hotel Inspector’ to appear and give me a rundown of the merits of our chosen accommodation. It all felt so familiar to me yet I knew I was still many miles from home.
We were shown to our room by a very friendly lady, Sandy, and she cheerfully and generously made us afternoon tea which we took down in the main breakfast room.
Our plan was to head out to find a Post Office and then to explore the village of Kingston Upon Thames. This was a pleasant stroll and Kingston has a very similar feel to what Windsor does except this area seems a little more trendy. They have a lovely walk way alongside the Thames
dotted with nice cafes and pubs so we stopped in for a beer and wine whilst we decided where to head for dinner. They even had a NZ Sauvignon Blanc! I’m not sure I’d find that in the Eton area around Windsor. I commented to Mark that there were a lot of young well heeled kids around and he noted that we were quite close to a University. The whole area had a lovely relaxed and safe feel and I recommend this as an alternative stop over if ever needed, rather than heading into London. Mark was very impressed by the number of bikes and bike shops in the area too!
We ended up having dinner at a busy little restaurant along the Thames called Browns. It was actually the nicest dining venue and meal we’d both had on the whole trip. Nice to finish on a high! Mark needed a beer stop off on the way home; a Fullers London Pride at The Forrester’s Pub. Luckily, from here, it was less than 50m back to our B&B.