362.January 04

Today I went to school and had a bad stomach ache. I laid down on the couch in the nurses office. After a while I was better, so I went back to class. When I got home I called Orion. This morning my glasses broke.


Cornwall, UK

We took a bus to Porth Curno, and saw the Minac theatre on the shore. It is located on the rocky perches above the crashing waves along the sea. An idyllic and religious place of great beauty. We hike to Land's End, the furthest point west of the British isle and missed the bus to return.We called a cab and had Land's End Bitter at the hotel there. They have some of the best brews in britain here, mostly because of the tourist economy and that this is a fairly remote location. The night was getting pitch black, but at least there was civilization near us, and we weren't in the middle of nowhere at all. We were tired, and went to bed soon. It was a grueling walk, the cab came to get us in pitch black night, but we'd made it.


Greenwich, UK

The missing page before this one was torn out to give Paola my address in the USA so that I can buy a video camera for her. Hopefully to keep in touch as well. I came to Greenwich at 8:30 this morning to see Indigo Jones' Queen's House, which I've been to two or three times before. I'm currently getting my cream tea at a Japanese tea house, currently I have two current scones with my cream tea. I stopped just after the word tea, in this Painted Room and took photos. I went to the Maritime Museum and called AH to set up our 16:30 meeting.

Old Kings Head was the pub on South Bank near London Bridge Station where I found Olde Speckled Hen. They've got darts, but some bloke was sitting under the board, so I took a pass and watched cricket instead. Now I'm just on a stumble down the street to the George Inn, which is a National Trust site. It is quite old, with raftered ceilings, small rooms, wooden carved walls. I'm having their house ale, the George Ale, and I'm not as pleased as I would have been if I'd ordered the Warm Wine Punch. The food smells nice here, but I'm still toying with the idea of having one last lunch with Kate this trip. I don't quite know the agenda tonight with AH.

This George ale is growing on me seriously. I'm in the Southwark bar of the George Inn. Perhaps I've read of this place in one of my Phillip Pullman books.

I'm looking for the Anchor Bankside, a pub of respectably old standing that AH suggested since I seem to like the novel crotchety old pubs. I don't know if I'll still be standing by the time I meet her if I stop at another pub on the way. A discussion on whether the dead come to the final battle at the end of the trilogy of the Lord of the Rings. This was a conquering ale. Ah, now that it is like water to me, like blood. Like tears. I must move on if I'm going to fill my day.

I last left you at the George Inn, a 300 year pub of the oldest style, with small dark rooms with wooden supported ceilings. But I told you about that...I found the Anchor Bankside easily from there, passing the Hop Exchange and the Vino Wine Merchant Center. The I decided I should stop by Victoria to check on train times to Gatwick. I needn't have, their are plenty on a monday morning, but most important is that it takes 30 minutes to get to Gatwick by the Gatwick Express. I've taken other trains there in the past, and it is definitely worth taking the Express. With my 7 day pass, it was only £4.2o for the extension to Gatwick.

So I settled on the Tate as a way to fill the remaining hours. I was so glad I'd taken the time here again, it really is the most wonderful room with the Pre-Rafaelites especially. Then I walked all the way to Anchor Bankside for my 16:30 meeting with AH. She was a bit late, I think, or assumed that she was, because she seemed rushed. I didn't have a watch on me. It was pleasant. She has the habit of never looking at the people she's talking to. She's very focused exactly 90 degrees from them, but not with any wandering eyes. Just exact.

We took off walking in the direction I'd come from in the morning. We passed the same pubs mostly, though we were a little further east when we started heading more southerly. We tried finding a nice open pub, just being led by our whims. We wound up at the Market Porter, which had the most interesting beer selection I've seen anywhere in England with the exception of the Salutation in Nottingham. I had a pint of Lord Leigh bitter, and before that, Harvey's bitter, both wonderful. At the Anchor Bankside I'd had a Courage, I was really racking them up. We stood and talked for a while, two pints of time for me, and by then I'd already started to slow my pace for the day. I needed food. We talked food suggestions, tried to get some food at the George Inn, but they'd stopped serving meals at 16:00. We ended our drinking at The Market Porter in Southwark on Sunday at 19:30. Many of the regular pubs would be closing at that time. We spotted an Indian Restaurant in that neighborhood, and it hit me pretty hard that I hadn't had any Indian cuisine yet on my trip. What was wrong with me? So of course we went there. I ordered a lot and really enjoyed the food, and of course insisted on paying for the meal. After we got to the nearby London Bridge Station which was on the Northern Line, we took that and went back towards Angel. She got off at the Circle District line after a couple of stops. I like the kiss kiss greeting that all women here seem to do. I felt very happy that I'd met up with AH while she was studying here. (I've seen her in New York just before a play at a theatre where she worksed, and we didn't really have much to talk about then, with other friends about, but I certainly won't regret that fabulous day of wandering from bar to bar with her, and the day I spent thinking about meeting up with a stranger that I only knew through friends. I rarely do that, but I think it is a very nice way to spend a day, if not a lifetime.)

I found Kate at home watching tele, and we decided it was time for another romantic movie, so we went to The Vulture rental store and got "Unfaithful". I still like Richard Gere. I love it when he plays rear character roles and doesn't just have to be a hunk. It was good. Diane Lane was also in it, from "Under the Tuscan Sun", which I just saw on the plane. Then it was time for bed, so we said our goodbyes, and she said she'd keep me posted on her workout success, which had been a frequent topic of conversation over the last few days.


Montpellier, France

We left Barcelona early this morning, travelling north through Montpellier, where we changed trains and made a pit stop for the best pizza ever in a tiny pizza pizza restaurant near the train station. The luggage was a bit of a hassle during this, but we didn't have an extraordinary amount, so we did have some moving around flexibility. We reached Lyon-Perrache train station as the dusk began to fall, and eventually found a cheap nice enough hotel with small rooms and a so-so location, but we could easily get everywhere we wished to be, and had a fabulous time in Lyon shopping for my clothes for the next few days.


Decorah, IA

Rachel started back to school in Decorah today, and I was back to work to begin the year once again. It seems so bizarre to me that I've been at the same job for nearly 7 years. I am surprised at how much I've had to type this evening in the journal, but it is a good feeling to remember that there are other places in this world that where I am right now, and that some day I will wander into many of them again, and maybe meet up with some of those wonderful friends that I've met along the way. I wish I had time enough to simply walk from one end of this earth to the other. "There and Back Again: A Hobbit's Tale." That's the story I need to live.


I didn't go to work today, I have a cold. I slept in, and then Rachel was about to bring me breakfast in bed, but the wonderful smell woke me up and I went down to meet it. I spent most of the day arranging bills and such in my 2010 folder, getting ready for taxes or rebates, etc. I set up a barebones computer to have everything I need via wireless. We watched COLD SOULS when Rachel got home, with dinner, and went to bed to read, then sleep.


I played COD with John online when I got home. Rachel came home from choir and we watched a few episodes of numbers.