Sunday, April 4, 2010

St Albans, Je T'aime

And I'm not talking about St Albans, France.  No, I'm talking about that little place you can get to on a southbound First Capital Connect train from St Pancras.  Why didn't anyone tell me about its virtues before?  I'd pick it over Salisbury any time (sorry, Salisbury, but you failed your test).

As we were kindly invited to one of John's family friends' 40th wedding anniversary party (held at Sopwell House) we decided to arrive to the hotel/country club early before the festivities began in order to get a gym workout and swim in before dinner so we wouldn't feel as guilty about indulging (but mainly because the facilities on the website looked incredible). 

I was so impressed by our room, the service and the facilities at Sopwell House that I'm considering taking my mom there to stay in May when she comes to visit.  Every little detail was attended to and the idea of ordering grilled panini at 3 a.m. via room service was mighty tempting (though I didn't go through with it as I was apparently snoring - according to John - in the most comfortable bed ever at that time).  I don't want to sound like I don't get out much (because I do, really) but the fact that the hotel pool had a bridge across it and a mosaic at the bottom pretty much had me sold - not to mention the lovely town of St Albans itself.

Upon checking out of the hotel this morning, John and I had a wander up the clock tower (from which the photo above was taken) and stupidly stood near the large bell, not realizing it was about to strike 11 ... needless to say, by the time I had it worked out and had my fingers half in my ears, I still screamed out of fright like a small child and cowered in the narrow staircase.  Note to self:  don't stand near any large bells before the hour, reading the accompanying sign beside it.  Not good for the nerves.  We then asked the kind man down below selling tickets for admission up the tower (£1 for a terrific view of St Albans and the scare of your life) whether he knew if the Verulamium Museum was open.  Though it didn't open until 2 (on Sundays), he did direct us on a lovely walk and we stumbled upon The Waffle House.  Jackpot.

Although I was drooling at the thought of having the Banoffee Waffle (complete with whipped cream and toffee sauce), I settled for the Fresh Banana and Cinnamon Waffle instead and a tall glass of hot chocolate.  After all, we had just finished breakfast half an hour ago.  Burp. 

After our little pit stop, we headed out again on the path as instructed by our new friend from the clock tower and had a quick glance at the Roman mosaic near the Verulamium Museum (both weren't open yet), and then came upon St Albans Cathedral which more than one person had told me was worth visiting.  I also had these sepia-toned cat-eye sunglasses I bought from Primark last week for £1 and everything looked freaking fantastic through them, so I took a photo through them so you could experience the sepia-toned loving too (sorry for the glare - it was done in haste so I could avoid looking like an idiot for more than 2 seconds):

See?  The effect is great.  Those glasses put me in a fabulous mood.  I might start wearing them indoors. 

But in all seriousness, I was charmed by St Albans.  Smitten, even.  It could have been the glasses, or the party, or the hotel, or a myriad of other things, but I like to think that it's just a nice little place that deserves to be visited.


  1. Wow. Those glasses might not technically be rose-colored, but their effect might as well be.

  2. just the effect that those builders must have aspired too!


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