Day two of our trip found us up and and it early. We had a train to catch. We packed an overnight bag and made our way to the nearest tube stop, Warren Street station. From there we went to King's Cross Station.
Using the tubes in London is easy, but full of stairs, escalators, lifts, noise, interesting sights, and smells. The whole experience is something to experience! And there is nothing like wandering around the big hubs like King's Cross or Paddington.
Of course at King's Cross we had to stop and join the queue for Platform 9 3/4. We took the pics pretending we too were going to run the baggage cart through the wall and board a train to Hogwarts. A very fun way to start the morning. Even more fun was seeing all the different kinds of people who were in line with us or standing nearby to watch the rest of us pose for the camera. All ages. All nationalities. Harry is global in a way that unless you experience something like that, it is almost difficult to imagine.
We boarded the train for Stevenage and took the 35 minute train ride out of the city. Several stops along the way, but it was fun for us to see the outlying towns and villages.
Once we arrived and made our way from the platform to the station, Donna spotted us and with a shout, ran over and gave me a huge hug. We both got teary eyed. Pretty amazing that two girls who began writing each other almost 40 years ago, but only met in person one other time, have such a connection. She guided us to the parking lot where her husband waited with the car. Off we went to their house! Stevenage is a typical post war community. It was bombed in WWII and the rebuild gave it a modernity that most villages don't have in that scope.
We had a cuppa, got unpacked, and headed out to Knebworth for lunch. Knebworth is a short drive away and has the distinction of being the "home village" to the Queen Mother. Her family estate is there. We got a glimpse of it through the trees. We also drove past author Ken Follet's house.
The Lytton Arms was our destination and once we arrived we enjoyed a couple of pints and a lovely, full on, English pub lunch. Chicken pie, roasted potatoes, carrots, green beans. Very tasty. The pub is adorable. Here is a link to their site: http://www.lyttonarms.co.uk/
We caught up over lunch and the conversation flowed like we had just visited the prior week instead of 27 years before.
After we went back to their house and they began to prepare for the arrival of all of Donna's family. She set out a spread of food. Enough for an army! Everyone began to arrive at 6:00 PM. Her parents came, her three daughters, plus two of her sisters, spouses/significant others, and her grandson. The house was packed! We hugged, chatted, laughed, told stories, answered questions, and laughed some more until after midnight. And we ate! We even had haggis!! Donna's hubby is Scottish as is her father.
In the morning, she made us a full English breakfast: eggs, bacon, scottish sausage, rolls, jam, etc. She was going to make blood pudding, but forgot it! Didn't matter, we were stuffed as it was.
Then it was off to the train station for our trip back to the city. We have a plan to see each other again as soon as we can. She'd like to see NYC as would I. So, we are thinking some time between Christmas and New Year's would be fun. If all goes well, we will be reunited again in a few years.
It was an amazing visit with my pen pal. What a friend I found when we became pen pals all those years ago.
And that was day two and the start of day three!