In Real Life, my boss has been knighted by the Queen of England, but I have never met royalty…only knights and lords. Despite what Hallmark movies portray, when you travel to European countries (real ones, not make-believe ones like Calpurnia from Hallmark’s A Royal Winter), princes do not magically bump into you while sightseeing. But just because princes do not masquerade undercover in Real Life, it doesn’t mean there isn’t magic to discover while abroad.
Last week, inspired by the fact that on Valentine’s Day I was flying from New York City to London to visit with friends, I shared their Real Life love story (see previous post here) that had its own magic to it. And while it’d be fun to regale you with each and every awesome attraction—the Tower of London, Big Ben, Westminster Abby, Parliament!—in Real Life I was there for work, so I had limited time to take in the sights. The one magical treat I did give myself, however, was to enjoy afternoon tea at The Savoy.
Situated along The Strand in London, The Savoy first opened its doors in August 1889 and has been serving afternoon tea ever since. In between meetings, I slipped away to enter the magnificent parlor of this storied hotel. I was seated in the Thames Foyer with a direct line of sight to the white trellis accented in gold that forms the focal point of the room, framed under the vaulted stained-glass dome window that welcomes natural light into this magnificent room. A piano decorated with a purple orchid sits beneath the trellis, and a pianist plays softly to set the calming tone for what is definitely a luxurious experience. The purple orchid serves as pop of color amidst the soft cream-colored room.
I had a table to myself, set with bone china, and a view of it all. To begin, I picked a tea that is sold exclusively at The Savoy—Darjeeling Moonlight Garden: Margaret’s Hope—and awaited my first course of sandwiches. Last time I had tea I was with Jacks and Shawl of the Hallmark Channel’s Bubbly Sesh (see previous post here), and although a lovely experience, at the time I was more focused on getting to know them then savoring each sip of tea.
The sandwiches were followed by a tower of scones, pastries, and cakes set against delicate china. My tea was continually refreshed, and the Madeline cookies filled with pistachio were to die for. I enjoyed every second of this adventure, and it was so interesting to me that I felt 100 percent comfortable on this solo outing without even a hint of awkward nerves. I cherished each second, every taste, sight, and sound, which is in complete contrast to my wine and cheese outing.
A few weeks ago, when I attended the wine and cheese tasting solo (see previous post here), I had a moment of nerves that almost made me abort the adventure. Was it the pressure of Valentine’s Day that threw me for a loop? Do I do better solo when traveling abroad because I want to enjoy every experience possible before I head home? Or am I just human with good days and bad days, bouts of confidence and insecurity, and a recognition that some days it’s easier to be single and other days it’s harder. It’s probably a combination of all of this and more, but I’ll keep challenging myself to explore and get out of my comfort zone. I hope you will, too. (And if you get a chance to visit London, don’t leave without a cup of tea at The Savoy!)