A Day in St. Albans, A Night with Priscilla
I was up in time today to catch brekkie at the Euro. Unfortunately it’s pouring rain today, and is windy and cold.
I finished breakfast at about 9:00 a.m., during which I was thinking carefully about how I should spend my last full day in (or around) this city that I so love. I decided to take a day trip to St. Albans, a charming, upscale town with a massive Cathedral, located about a half hour north of London. St. Albans is an easy train ride of about 20 minutes once you’re out of London.
Outside, the weather was cold and it was raining hard as the train departed the station. Inside, however, it was warm and was a pleasant ride to St. Albans, and I arrived in good time.
I stepped off the train and began to orient myself in a new town:
I first walked along Victoria Street…
… then went through The Maltings Shopping Centre. Next I found the tourist information board for St. Albans and purchased some maps and souvenirs there, then explored the side streets a bit:
I wanted to see the thing that had motivated me to come to this stately little town, so I located St. Albans Cathedral without further delay. There I spent a good deal of time admiring the Cathedral and the surrounding grounds. Absolutely beautiful:
I was absolutely freezing from the cold and wind, having spent several hours in it, so I began a slow return to the train station. I headed down a street named George Street, where I browsed a very interesting shop called By George and bought a wine bottle coaster. By George is a fascinating store specializing in handmade goods created by local residents.
It was getting late, and the weather was now truly turning dark and stormy; the rain had started to fall in earnest. I was hungry so I went in search of sustenance prior to my train ride back to London. Judging from appearances there wasn’t a lot of evening food choice in this town, so I walked back to a street (of which I failed to get the name) and bought a sub at Subway. This was a takeaway-only Subway, so I took my sub to the outside tables at The Maltings Shopping Centre – I tried to eat but the weather was just too damn cold!!! I ate only half of the sub and took the remainder with me, then made my way back along Victoria Street to the St. Albans train station.
I caught the train back to St. Pancras International, arriving at about 5:30 p.m. There, I bought an Oyster card (£3.00 initial cost + £10.00 load) as my 7-day London TravelCard had expired the day before. I now had an Oyster card just like the natives!
I returned to the Euro Hotel and prepped my stuff for departure early the next morning. HOWEVER!… I am not done with London just yet, for now it is time to make my way to the Palace Theatre in Cambridge Circus (Shaftesbury Ave. & Charing Cross Rd.) for the London stage production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert!!! I have waited years to see this live production, and it has been one of my most anticipated events of this trip.
I took the Russell Square Underground to Leicester Square and picked up my pre-purchased ticket at the Palace Theatre box office. I needed some quick sustenance so I went to Pizza Hut across the street for a little pre-show nosh. I then returned to the Palace for showtime (I had scored an excellent seat in the Stalls: “I27”).
WHAT AN AWESOME FREAKING SHOW!!!!!
What can I say? I was absolutely blown away by the performance and the electricity of the audience (who were on their feet for much of the show). What a night…
The performance finished about 10:00 p.m. On a buzz/high from the incredible performance, I went back to Leicester Square to get a last bit of nightlife on this, my last night in London. The wild party animal that I am, I settled for an ice cream at Baskin Robbins in Leicester Square. I sat out on their patio but it was way too cold, so I didn’t linger.
I hopped the Underground back to Russell Square, then back to the Euro. I tried to call Dad to see how he managed today (he had a medical procedure earlier that day) but there was no answer (it’s 7 hours earlier there so he still may have been in the hospital). I sent a final email to the gang at home, then packed and set alarms on multiple devices for the God-forsaken hour of 04:00 the next morning and went to bed.
What an incredible day, and what a perfect finish to this trip.