An online friend visits us in London!…What a wonderful day!…

Tom took this blurry photo of Liz and me. Sometimes he gets it right and others, not so much.

Over the past years, we’d received several comments from one of our readers, Liz. She wrote beautifully, posing interesting comments and questions that I’d upload at the end of the particular post. 

Those of our readers who have signed up to receive the daily posts receive the questions/comments and our replies to the email, the only email received through our site other than each new daily post. Those readers who don’t sign up must look at the end of each post to see if there are any comments and replies.

My lunch salad in the hotel dining room on a very small plate was US $10.77, 6.50 pounds.

Tom and I both share in the replies, enjoying the opportunity to “speak” to our readers. On occasion, we may receive comments from “haters.” We don’t bother to respond to such types. Our site is not intended as an arena for angry and hateful protestations. 

However, we always welcome expression of views regarding travel or life in general that may be contrary to our own. Lively banter makes the “world go round.” Hatefulness does not, in our view.

Liz’s vegetarian lunch in the hotel dining room.

When we receive a comment or question from a reader we enthusiastically reply online posting both at the earliest possible opportunity, often within 12 hours. Posing comments may be done so anonymously if one so chooses. We aren’t able to determine the writer’s email address or name.

Anyway, back to Liz. After awhile, we began to write privately via email and a genuine friendship came to fruition. As many of us are aware, non-romantic relationship are often born out of the Internet and has escalated over the years as more and more become entrenched in online communication.

How thoughtful of Liz to give me this useful set of organic products to prevent and treat insect bites, always my nemesis.

Liz and I had previously discussed many topics online. I always smile when there’s a message from her as is the case for many other readers with whom we’ve come to know online. For Liz, Pat and all the others, we are eternally grateful.

The fact that Liz lives in a charming village a 90 minute train ride from London, was a perfect opportunity for us to meet. Yesterday, she arrived on what was yet another rainy day, meeting Tom and I in the hotel lobby where we excitedly awaited her arrival.

Precisely on time, not surprising for Brits, I was thrilled to see her lovely face yesterday at 12:35 pm. The plan was for a “girl time” lunch, taking as long as we wanted and then she’d head back to the nearby South Kensington Station for the return train to her home.

Everything fit into the tiny bags except these two larger items which I can easily fit into our toiletries suitcase.

After warm hugs with both of us, a short chat with Tom, Liz and I decided on lunch in the hotel’s restaurant With it still raining and Liz’s walk from the station staying indoors made sense. Quiet during the day, the hotel’s restaurant was the perfect venue for conversation with few interruptions for our shared candid chatter on our lives, our views and our varied experiences.

We were seated in the quiet dining room, eventually ordering a light lunch. The seeming endless conversations began. Liz and I have a lot in common. My birthday is one day after hers on February 19th and 20th. But, the similarity of our views, values and lifestyles are concurrent in many ways.

Liz’s husband Dave sent along this bottle of beer for Tom.  Tonight, we’ll chill it on ice and he’ll drink a toast to Liz and Dave for their thoughtfulness.

It had been a long time since I’d had any “girl time.” It was toward the end of our three months in South Africa, close to my birthday, that friends Kathy and Linda took me to a birthday/goodbye luncheon at a gorgeous resort in South Africa. That was six months ago.

In my old life, I had a number of treasured girlfriends, some who knew one another and some who did not. Often, we’d gather for lunch which ultimately turned into hours of robust conversation and laughter. I’ve missed that these past almost two years since we left Minnesota.

Tom’s calzone last night at Bella Italia.

To have that experience again yesterday, meant the world to me. To have that experience with vibrant, also “overly bubbly” Liz only added to my pleasure.

I don’t know how it happened so quickly but suddenly it was 5:30 pm. We were shocked that so much time had flown by. We wandered up to our hotel room to inform Tom that the three of us were going to dinner after which we’d walk her to the station to catch the 8:30 pm train.

Once in the room, she took a bag of gifts out of her handbag, handing it to me to open with gifts for both of us.  Neither of us had received an actual gift to open in almost two years.

My dinner at Bella Italia of two small chicken breasts in a pot of red sauce with a side of grilled vegetables. 

Included here are photos of the gifts for me and the other for Tom. How thoughtful of her especially when she learned what we’d need and want based on reading our past posts. 

With no restaurants that we love in the area, we felt it was safe to go to Bella Italia, where there’d be options for her vegetarian way of eating, my restrictions and Tom’s picky taste buds. It worked out well. Tom had a beer, Liz had a glass of wine and I had a cup of tea. Our dinners were “good but not great” but again, the conversation was lively and animated. 

Liz’s dinner of vegetarian cannelloni and a side salad.

Again, the time passed quickly and it was time to go. We had a wonderful day spending almost eight hours together. Saying goodbye was bittersweet as we hugged in the rain outside the station with a deep sense of friendship and appreciation for a day well spent.

Thank you, dear Liz. Your kindness, friendship and thoughtfulness will stay with us as we soon leave London in a mere four day as we’ll commence on our worldwide journey with more wonderful memories in tow. Gosh, how lucky could we be?

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2013:

The weather had begun to cool in Boveglio, Italy after a hot and humid summer. With only four days until we were leaving for an overnight in Venice awaiting our next day flight to Kenya, we were busy packing and preparing to leave. For details from that date, please click here.

Comments and responses An online friend visits us in London!…What a wonderful day!…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    I had to respond today to say how delightful it was to hear of your new friend taking a 90 minute train ride to visit with you. It sounded like so much fun, as girl's time outs always are.
    We are keeping up with your wonderful posts everyday. I have not commented or emailed lately because I know how busy you are with sightseeing and did not want to slow you down. When you get settled in on the cruise ship, I will email then. Of course then I know how expensive the internet is on those ships.
    I just wanted to let you know we are still enjoying your travels very much.

  2. Jessica Reply

    How wonderful to hear from you! Please don't hesitate to write by email or comments for any reason. It only takes a moment for us to reply and nothing pleases us more than to hear from you and our readers, family and friends. We are never too busy to reply.

    It's great to know you're following us. There's much ahead in our plans, especially with many small group excursions we're going on from the ship. Tom communicated with others who'll be on the ship when they were booking small group tours. We're very excited to be doing so many of these.

    As for London, we leave in three days and we're ready to go. A lovely city with friendly people which we've enjoyed. Now, we're off for more adventures.

    Write and tell me how you and Dan are both doing.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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