Summertime, and the travelin’ is easy.

skyline
Y’all. I’m back from a whirlwind trip to the other side of the world.

Well, actually, I’ve been home for three weeks, but I’m only now — just. now. — recovering from the vacation exhaustion/jetlag/end-of-trip cold. (Plus, I had a little birthday in there that set me back a couple of days.)

[You’re not dreaming, either. South & Sundry got a little makeover while we were gone, only because I get bored with these things. Hey, spice of life.]

Our trip — to Israel, for those of you who didn’t get my hint or aren’t following along on Instagram — was magical. Sun-kissed. Blessed. Mile-a-minute. Profound. So fun. Dare I say, easy? Continue reading

London, Day 6: Last night in town, in the p.m.

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I was back from Highclere Castle at 4:00 p.m. The weather in London looked a bit clearer, so I considered what was left on my to-do list. I hadn’t yet even glimpsed Big Ben, which is probably some sort of sacrilege while you’re visiting London, so I headed in that direction.

(Side note: just last week I saw that they’re going to rename Big Ben the “Elizabeth Tower” in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee. Raise your hand if you think that new name will stick …

{{crickets}}

Yeah, that’s what I thought.) 

Big Ben is also near Westminster Abbey and the Cabinet War Rooms. I’ve visited Westminster Abbey every time I’ve come to London, and it’s one of my favorites. But with the day waning, I had to choose between those two sites. I hadn’t seen Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms since the first time I was in England when I was nine, and I’ve learned and come to admire a lot more about Winston Churchill and England’s role in WWII since then. So the War Rooms was actually an attraction I didn’t want to miss. I quickly grabbed a photo of Big Ben on the way out of the Tube and ran up to the War Rooms entrance around 4:30 p.m. I had until 6:00 p.m. to speed through the exhibits. A guided audio tour is included, one of those “push this number to hear more” deals. I tried to go quickly, but also to listen to as much as possible and do it justice.

  

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London, Day 1: On Arrival

Oh, London.

I’m freshly back from my London Jubilee/birthday excursion, and missing it already. That’s a little unusual, because as much as I am enamored with British culture, television, tea, accents, history and the royal family … I’ve just never really liked London. On this trip, though, I think the love affair began.

London’s such an easy city — to get to, to get around in, to visit alone. Though it’s nothing like New York, I felt a distinct and similar cityness — on the tube, in the hum of commuter rush hour, in just its oldness. But in that, of course, New York has nothing on London. I just felt surprisingly comfortable, and loved being back in the middle of the bustling city — you know I can throw an elbow in a crowd, hurl myself into a packed train car and speedwalk past the tourists with the best of them.

Now, it wasn’t a relaxing holiday, not like laying on a Caribbean beach with a mai tai for a week. And I killed it, every day, which means I made it through most of the sites on my to do list. It also means I hardly slept, mostly because I never acclimated to GMT. It sure made the coming home easier though — no early waking and to bed at 8 pm for me.
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South Africa, Day 10: Headed home.

Well, this is it, the last post on the last day in South Africa. For those loyal readers, thanks for sticking with me — I’ll miss telling this story, which only means I have to go on another big, fabulous, exotic trip soon! Stay tuned.

Miss a post, or want to read from the beginning? Click here.

We were awakened again at 5:00 a.m. on our last day at Entabeni. As I sat up in bed, I started to feel the tell-tale scratchy throat that comes with the common cold. Nah, I said, it’s just the dry air. Uh huh.

We caught a vehicle and headed for coffee and biscotti at the lodge before the morning game ride. But on the way we encountered a herd of 3 or 4 giraffes, just grazing on the trees there in the dawning light. It was too dark to get a great photo, but they were still a sight to behold. So beautiful and awkward yet graceful.

Giraffe, in the dark.

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South Africa, Days 1-2: Just getting there.

[Sidebar: Today is September 5, which marks the first anniversary of this blog! My first official post was a recap of my trip to Australia, so it’s both surprising and apropos that one year later I’m talking about another big trip. If only my life were always that exciting!

I started this blog as a lark, because I was feeling bored and unchallenged. But along the way I’ve received love and encouragement from so many of you who read it regularly, and miss it when I don’t write. So, thank you to all of my readers, whether this is your first post or you’ve dutifully read all 79 of them. Your support (and eyeballs) really mean so much. Mwah, Whitney]

Oh, South Africa. Where to even begin. I knew this trip would be important and life-changing even before the flight took off, and it didn’t disappoint. I’ll attempt to recap here all that we did, saw, ate and felt over those jam-packed 10 days abroad. As you’ve seen, I’m a terrible photographer, so please know that I won’t do the country’s beauty one bit of justice. It’s such a special place, and it was a special trip. One that we’re still talking about and will for months and years to come.

To begin: we flew for days and days.
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