I now have a vendetta against those big red double-decker tour buses.
For a long time, I thought they were kind of cute. I quite enjoyed myself in Barcelona when we took them. And my sister's old apartment in San Francisco was on the first floor of a building right around the corner from Alamo Square and the Painted Ladies, so anytime I stopped by "to say hi" aka raid her freezer, I'd be almost eye-to-eye with all the folks on the top level of those buses passing by. It was the closest I ever came to experiencing fame.
Taking one of these buses was on Kelly's London wishlist, and I was completely for it. Don't get me wrong, some parts of it I found to be extremely valuable. The tour guide, for example, pointed out the hotel Kate Middleton stayed at the night before her wedding AND JK Rowling's rumored neighborhood. Priceless information to me.
But ... then ... WA:JDKFJDK:FS ... a combined effort from inconsistent schedules, terrible TERRIBLE traffic, and needing to wait twenty minutes at the last stop before the bus can start looping again ... I had to miss my intended departure to Oxford time of 2:00pm by over an hour. Which made me arrive at MooMoo's Milkshakes three minutes after it closed. I've never known such heartbreak. Never.
Despite that major hiccup, alongside encounters with gruff bus drivers and Cassandra not being able to come with me (the only words she uttered all day were "well are the doctors even good in Greece" in response to the question of "should we get you a doctor?" so needless to say, bed all day was right where she belonged), it was lovely being back.
The beautiful drive through the countryside, hanging out and catching up with my lovely friend Charlie who brought me straight to G&D's for consolation ice cream, meeting her friends who were all horrified at The Royals trailers I made them watch (Do Americans know this is completely trash though?!?!), sneaking into Stanford House, walking around Christchurch Meadows, grabbing my go-to sandwich at Olive's, marveling at how ... marvelous... it is not to have to wear three layers and rainboots, and remembering just how spectacularly beautiful the town and university is... oh boy, do I miss it.
It's disconcerting, coming back to a place and having it be the most familiar thing in the world yet also the strangest. Muscle memory takes you straight to your crosswalk, but did it really always take the pedestrian light this long to turn green? I thought this storefront was two doors down, I used to go to that place every day for morning coffee ... oh, look at that new shop! The weirdest.